Feeling sad, irritated, or having a bit of a meltdown every now and then is actually pretty normal. (Trust me I’ve just moved countries so sometimes I felt these all at once!). But if you feel like your emotions are getting a little out of control or regularly swinging in different directions, you might want to tackle one possible culprit.
Our digestive system, or gut, is actually referred to as our ‘second brain’ with over 100 million neurons running through it, constantly sending direct responses to our brain. Given how closely the gut and brain interact, if our digestion is out of whack (think bloating, acid reflux, nausea, cramps, constipation), chances are our emotional and psychosocial wellbeing is seriously compromised too.
So how do we heal the gut and get our mood swings in check? Simple.
While acute inflammation can be a good thing (it’s our body’s natural response to healing from stress), ongoing chronic inflammation can actually wreck havoc on our system. And when our gut is inflamed from certain foods, we can start to experience as whole range of symptoms such as fatigue, anxiety, stress, low self esteem and even depression.
If you want to try and stabilize your moods, following an anti inflammatory diet might be beneficial for you. This ‘diet’ so to speak, is not about being super restrictive and cutting everything out immediately. It’s more about reducing your intake and seeing how you feel. Like any dietary changes it is all about what works for you. So be intuitive and listen to your ‘gut’ instinct.
So here they are…
THE TOP 5 INFLAMMATORY FOODS TO AVOID
TO IMPROVE YOUR MOOD.
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, oats and rye and (and some other grains) that is highly inflammatory to our gut. Yep, unfortunately breads, pastries, white pasta and cereals are all linked to causing digestive issues, fatigue, mood swings and even anxiety. The good news is that there are so many easily digestible alternatives such a quinoa, millet, gluten free bread and even vegetable or rice pastas that are just as good and will help balance your mood swings.
2. Processed Sugar
Research shows that sugar is one of the most addictive substances (on par with cocaine) and highly inflammatory to our bodies. It also spikes your blood sugar levels giving you that ‘crash and burn’ feeling a few hours later. If you have a sweet tooth, try natural sweeteners like raw honey, dates, rice malt syrup or blackstrap molasses. Natural sugars found in fresh fruits are also great as you get the added vitamins, antioxidants and fibers that you won’t find in processed sugary foods and drinks.
3. Cooking oils
Common cooking oils such as vegetable, grape seed, cottonseed, corn and sunflower oils are commonly used at home and in restaurants, however are very high in omega-6 fatty acids which promote inflammation in the body and breed diseases such as heart disease and cancers. Instead, try switching to heart healthy oils such as macadamia, coconut or extra virgin olive oil.
Nearly 90% of people are suffering from a dairy intolerance without even knowing it. Dairy from cheese, milk, yoghurt and butter can actually be quite irritative to our digestive tract and cause inflammation that result in gas, bloating, nausea and diarrhea. Try cutting down your dairy intake and see if you notice an improvement in your mood by switching to products such as almond milk, rice milk or coconut yoghurts.
While some alcoholic beverages such as red wine can actually have a positie effect on our health when consumed in small quantities (yay!) we are generally drinking alcohol in a much larger amount and reaching for alcoholic mixed drinks that are high in processed sugar and artificial sweeteners. While a glass here and there is fine, drinking in excess or binge drinking forces the liver to work overtime and can damage the lining of the intestinal tract and trigger mood swings (not to mention horrenhous hangovers).