Have you ever wondered why, sometimes when you’re stressed, depressed, or even ‘in love’, you feel it in your stomach? Why not your elbows, or your liver?
Your brain is the centre of your nervous system, as such it is directly connected to every part of your body. But what most people don’t realize is that your stomach has its own mini nervous system too. Called the enteric nervous system, and sometimes referred to as “the brain in the gut”, your stomach’s nervous system sends and receives impulses, records experiences (memory) and even responds to emotions.
So, it makes sense that your brain and your stomach are closely related and that’s why you get ‘gut feelings’ and not ‘liver feelings’. Also, your brain’s main objective is to keep you alive. You need the essential nutrients from food to stay healthy. So, your brain has lots of reasons to keep close tabs on your tummy.
That means, in addition to eating for your physical health, there are two basic ways to eat for your mental health.
First the health of your gut can affect your brain’s functioning. Any foods that are good for your gut are good for your brain too. That means foods that good for your digestive system, including high-fibre complex carbs, like whole grains, and legumes; good for your gut bacteria, like plain yogurt; and/or help reduce inflammation in your stomach, like the omega-3 fatty acids in wild salmon, herring, sardines and mackerel, are all great for your brain too.
The second way to boost your mental health is to eat foods that are good for your brain. The healthier your brain is physically, the better you feel mentally.
In addition to the whole grains and foods high in omega3 fatty acids we mentioned, the following foods will keep you brain, and mental health, it top form:
Protein is the building block of every cell in your body, including your brain and nervous system. In turn, amino acids are the building block of protein and one of them, tryptophan, influences your mood by producing serotonin, which is sometimes called nature’s Prozac. Lean protein foods include fish, poultry and legumes.
Dark Leafy Greens
Greens like spinach, romaine lettuce and broccoli are like a super food convention. In addition to tons of other nutrients and vitamins, they are great sources of folic acid. When your body is low in folate, you have a higher chance of experiencing depression, fatigue and insomnia.
If you want to make sure you’re getting fit physically and mentally with your FitFood meal plan, call your Fit Food Nutritional Concierge today and ask them to whip something up for you. And deliver it to your door!