“In the theme of foods as medicine, we’ve established that the food we eat will either have a positive influence on how our body works or quite the contrary – eat the wrong thing and we can find ourselves begging for mercy. I for one know how I feel if I indulge in average, sugar filled, nutrient lacking food – for the most part my stomach swells to look like it can accommodate a small country, I feel like I’ve gone a few rounds in the boxing ring and I get really cranky!
But knowing what foods can lift our moods may be the missing ingredient in your daily regime. After all, if we are what we eat, I don’t want to eat grumpy food! Instead understanding exactly why certain foods can lift our senses is the remedy!
We’ve spoken about good gut function many times. A sluggish gut may, in fact, be leaving you with more than just a sore, bloated stomach. A gut that is inflamed and irritated will not only find it difficult to digest (meaning your body won’t get its daily nutrition quota) but equally our gut is our emotion center – likened to our second brain. We have thousands of receptors in our gut linked to our overall emotion state. You know, you’ve heard terrible news and felt it directly in your stomach? It’s not too difficult to feel the connection. So it isn’t any wonder that our foods will influence our overall attitude and outlook. One side of the coin lies with healing the gut with maximizing digestion through good nutrition alongside tiny tea and alike, the other side of the coin comes back to nourishing for wellbeing. This is why so many of our customers report much more than improved digestion and weight loss. Improved energy, a clearer mind, less anxiety and all round wellbeing are all part of a thriving digestive system.
Foods that are inflammatory like gluten, sugar, grains and alcohol can place extreme load on the digestive system. Gluten is particularly troublesome when it comes to gut damage. Wheat and various grains look very different from what they did 50 years ago. They have been modified to maximize crops and sadly this mutated form is to many, un-digestible. What’s more, with our gut health compromised, gluten can literally tear small holes in your gut wall, allowing undigested food to leak into your body. Your body sees this as a foreign toxin and literally freaks out in an effort to protect itself. Using healing foods alongside tiny tea is your sure fire way toward maximizing digestive ability and repairing your gut.
There are some foods that specifically assist in heightening moods by balancing hormones. Since hormones are the master controllers of your body (and you can’t make gangbuster hormones when your gut can’t turn nutrients into them) it’s important to understand that many areas of our typical diet and lifestyle lead to excess oestrogen in the body, one of our sex hormones. Too much oestrogen will not only see conditions like PCOS and ovulation pain, but extend to weight gain, acne, depression, anxiety and general feeling of overwhelming. Including foods that help balance oestrogen is for me as a practitioner my first step.
Foods that help to balance oestrogen levels include cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, kale, spinach, cauliflower, cabbage and alike. They contain a nutrient called indole-3-carbinol which aid in lowering the bodies oestrogen. It’s important that these foods are cooked – eaten raw they can have an undesirable effect on the thyroid. Eat 2 – 3 serves daily to really experience the benefits.
Getting more fibrous plants into the diet is another excellent way of lowering oestrogen, since this type of fiber binds to its excess in the digestive system. Think fruits like strawberries, pears and apples alongside citrus fruits.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids (essential fatty acids – aka EFA’s) are your best friend when it comes to balancing moods. These fats have a powerful role in improving the body’s cells ability to take up essential hormones including those necessary to regulate moods. Salmon is an excellent source of EFA’s – a single serve of around 200gm meets your daily requirements.
Eat more nuts. Not only are they highly nutritious, but they help to increase serotonin levels. Chocolate also has a similar effect.
And water – don’t forget the humble water. When we are hydrated we are happy – we look good, feel good, it helps increase our metabolism and concentration.
It’s important to remember that food does far more than just fill an empty spot. Food nourishes our body on almost every level, from our muscles and joints to our brain tissue and organs. Everything we consume will have an influence on our body. So next time you’re craving something on the ‘wrong’ side of the food chain, stop to think of what your body really needs – reaching for something to support your body, mind and soul may be the best remedy!”.
Written by Dr Nat, TCM.
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