When many of us are feeling down, stressed, unhappy or simply bored - we seek comfort food.
Some would argue that comfort eating could be a major contributory factor in today's obesity epidemic.
However. The point is with comfort eating it is our mood which dictates when and what we eat.
Interestingly enough. The reverse also appears to be true. What we eat can improve both our mood, and our health.
The following article appeared in the Observer newspaper 15th Jan, 06.
Poor diet link to rising cases of depression
INCREASING RATES of anxiety, depression and irritability could be due to a poor diet that lacks essential chemicals to
keep the brain healthy, according to a leading mental health charity.
A report out tomorrow describes the links between less severe forms of mental disorders, such as anxiety, and our reliance
upon on ready meals and processed food, which are heavy in pesticides, additives and harmful trans fats. Eating a diet without
fresh fruit and vegetables, fish, pulses or nuts deprives the brain of the essential vitamins and nutrients needed to regulate
The report, 'Feeding Minds', was produced by the Mental Health Foundation and Sustain, two charities which are launching
a campaign that argues that dietary changes could hold the key to combating problems such as depression and ADHD (attention
deficit hyperactivity disorder) in children. Celebrity chef Antony Worrall Thompson has provided recipes for the charities
that show how ingredients can be combined to help combat disorders.
Over the past 60 years, there has been a significant decline in the consumption of fruit and vegetables in the UK, with
only 13 per cent of men and 15 per cent of women now eating at least five portions each day. The number of pesticides and
additives in food has risen sharply over the same period.
The brain relies on a mixture of complex carbohydrates, essential fatty acids (EFAs), particularly Omega 3 and Omega
6, vitamins and water to work properly.
Nutritional deficiency could seriously hamper the body's production of amino acids, which are vital to good psychological
health. Neurotransmitters, made from amino acids, are chemicals which transmit nerve impulses between the brain cells.
Serotonin, a ket neurotransmitter, helps to regulate feelings of contentment,
anxiety and depression. Many adults do not have sufficient levels of tryptophan because their intake of nuts, seeds and wholegrains
is too low.
Food and Mood
FOOD AND MOOD PROJECT: DIETARY SELF-HELP FOR EMOTIONAL AND MENTAL
HEALTH AND WELLBEING.
Researchers now accept and acknowledge that both depression and suicidal behaviour can be linked to decreased
SEROTONIN levels in the brain.
In fact, research has shown that depression, insomnia, anxiety, suicide, migraines, PMS, obsessive/compulsive
behaviour, stress, obesity and addiction are all related to low levels of Serotonin.
Serotonin is the brain's "happy" chemical.
Stress decreases the level of Serotonin. This being so, stress reduction is of major importance in addressing
The wide extent of psychological functions regulated by Serotonin is impressive and includes: mood, anxiety, arousal,
aggression, impulse control and thinking abilities.
Excess amounts of Serotonin cause relaxation, sedation and a decrease in sexual drive (There had to be a catch).
Serotonin deficiency is associated with low mood, lack of will power and poor appetite control.
Disruption of the normal functioning of the Serotonin system leads to a number of so called 'psychiatric conditions'
which include anxiety disorders, depression, improper social behaviour and sexual abberations.
Disturbance of the sleep-wake cycle, obesity or eating disorders and chronic pain are common medical conditions associated
with disruption of the Serotonin system.
Unfortunately you cannot buy Serotonin 'over the counter' but you can buy 5-HTP.
This supplement provides the brain with the raw material that it needs to manufacture Serotonin. Ask your pharmacist for information.
How to create your own SEROTONIN
If you wish to raise your own Serotonin levels you can eat TRYPTOPHAN rich foods; fish, eggs, cheese, milk, yogurt,
Apparently, bananas contain a 'significant' amount of serotonin.
Foods that help these TRYPTOPHAN foods turn into SEROTONIN are brown rice, porridge oats, wholemeal bread. Foods that
do not contain Tryptophan are fats, oils, sugar and alcohol. SMOKING ALSO REDUCES
Other research indicates that the herbal ante-depressant ST JOHN'S WORT may be useful for the production
At present, more than 20 million people in Germany regularly take St John's Wort for depression, anxiety
and sleep disorders; and they are reporting excellent results. In fact, this natural remedy is used more than PROZAC in GERMANY.
CLICK HERE FOR ESSENTIAL INFORMATION ABOUT ST JOHN'S WORT
Serotonin can make you happy and happiness could result in laughter. But, given that the shortest distance between two
human beings has always been laughter. Laughter, is one of the greatest and most natural means of communication available
to all us.
It costs nothing.You don't need a prescription for it. It's fantasic at building bridges and you can use it in countless
situations - although it is not recommended at funerals.
Laughter has been proven to have numerous health benefits, including the release of ENDORPHINS, which work as a natural mood lifter. Hence its value at overcoming
depression and suicidal feelings. It is acknowledged as one of the most effective and immediate antidotes to stress and tension
known to man.
By creating feelings of happiness and joy, laughter leaves us feeling much more relaxed and alive. This recharges our
batteries and puts us in a better frame of mind for a good recuperative night's sleep. Laughter boosts the imune system. Diminishes
pain and helps people cope with the stress of life.
A daily dosage of laughter will elevate feel-good levels of Serotonin and generally improve your health. One major study
found that 'roaring' with laughter can boost your imune system by 40% Relieve stress, increase pain tolerance and protect
against heart disease