Most people know the experience of getting cranky when they are hungry or even eating certain foods when they are depressed. Most people also know the importance of eating a nutritious diet for overall physical health but not as many people are as aware of the role that nutrition plays in your emotional and mental health. Your moods and emotions are really just the result of neurotransmitters from your brain. Your body cannot just make these neurotransmitters from thin air, however, it actually absorbs nutrients from the foods that you eat in order to perform all the many functions and tasks of keeping your body healthy.
Your body actually performs a wide variety of tasks that it needs certain “supplies” to perform. It gets these supplies from food. From fighting off infections to constantly replacing damaged and dying cells to keeping your moods and emotions stable to keeping your heart beating and your corneas moist by blinking, every second your body is busily performing thousands of different tasks. Much like keeping a busy, active city running smoothly, your body needs materials to perform all of these tasks, which it gets from the food that you eat. If you don’t eat the right kinds of foods, however, your body will not have the right kinds of materials to perform some of its most critical functions.
For instance, when an individual suffers from depression, they are often given an SSRI, which stands for Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor. Seratonin is the neurotransmitter your body uses to keep your moods stable. If you have ever known anyone that just seems positive, happy and upbeat all the time, it might be because they have plenty of serotonin to help them stay that way. The problem with an SSRI, however, is that while it may help your body manage your serotonin levels better, it will not actually increase the amount of seratonin your body has to work with. While SSRI’s may provide a temporary solution, a better long term solution is to increase your body’s natural serotonin levels. There are actually a number of serotonin-rich foods, which means a change in diet may do far more to battle depression than even a trip to a therapist.