Can food have a positive impact on our mood? In fact, yes. There are choices we make in the culinary department which can help us to feel level, balanced and calm.
When thinking about foods to eat in order to elicit calmness, we look for foods that enable our neurotransmitters to function effectively. Now, don’t leave me! This may sound complicated but let me lay a few things out and hopefully it will all make sense.
GABA, found in some foods, is an inhibitory neurotransmitter whose effect calms the brain and body, as well as regulates anxiety – perfect, so where can we find it? GABA is found in foods such as almonds and tree nuts, banana, broccoli, brown rice, oats, citrus fruits, rice bran, potato, spinach and wheat. No surprise – we regularly serve and highly recommend all of these here at Golden Door!
In addition, we also need Vitamin B6 as this helps unlock the GABA from foods. So where do we find Vitamin B6? Rice bran, pistachio nuts, fish, liver, turkey, pork, dried fruit, lean beef, bananas, avocado and spinach. Also, items found frequently on our Golden Door menu.
Combine this with magnesium for the synthesis of serotonin (our happy hormone) and we are onto a winning combination. Try green leafy vegetables such as spinach, pumpkin seeds, yoghurt, almonds, black beans, avocado, figs, dark chocolate and bananas. Hmmm, I’m beginning to see a bit of a Golden Door menu pattern here…..
Now throw in good quality, lean protein to increase tryptophan (precursor to melatonin – our sleepy hormone – and serotonin), found in eggs, cheese, pineapple, tofu, salmon, nuts and seeds and turkey.
Take care to eat good amounts of fibre to ensure that gut health is top notch – serotonin is produced in our brain however 90% of it is found in our gut, so optimising gut health is a huge priority – and combining some of these various foods, you can make yourself a fabulous meal here.
Add sitting quietly to eat without distractions and regular exercise to restore levels of all neurotransmitters, and I think we are on to something.
Article by Mel Ingram, Clinical Health Services Manager