Mood And Food!Heidi Hadley
The key purpose of Total Somatics is to improve awareness to your health and well being. When we develop the principles of Somatic Health and Well being, we realise the importance of heightening our awareness to how we feel, sense, move, think, perceive, speak and eat. In today’s blog we are going to look at how food can be a benefit or detriment to our health.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) reports that mental disorders are now the leading cause of disability in the US and Canada. Countries such as the UK and Australia are showing similar statistics. There are three categories of mental disorders, they are:
- Elevated mood such as mania
- Depressed mood such as Major or clinical depression
- Moods which can switch from mania to depression, known as Bipolar disorder.
There are really important components to our brain health which influence our mood, these are Neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that communicate information throughout the brain and body. The job description of each neurotransmitter is very different, but there are specific ones related to mood and we will look at how they can influence our emotions.
Dopamine is a well known neurotransmitter which I discussed in last week’s blog entitled “Is sugar controlling you?” https://totalsomatics.com/is-sugar-controlling-you/
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter which creates a motivating and energising effect.
Noradrenaline is a neurotransmitter which has the properties of mood enhancing.
Adrenaline is a well known neurotransmitter which is heavily involved with the stress response.
Serotonin is commonly referred to as the “happy hormone” whereas technically speaking it is a neurotransmitter. It is involved in having a calming, mood enhancing and soothing effect on the mind and body (soma).
Endorphins create the feeling of euphoria and pain relief. There are people who feel this surge of endorphins when they exercise.
Gamma aminobutyric Acid (GABA) dampens, soothes and calms the mind and body down, allowing time for recuperation and rest.
Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter involved in memory and alertness. But for we who have an interest in Somatic mindful movement practise, Acetylcholine Is responsible for the stimulation of muscles, including those within the gastrointestinal system. It is found within sensory neurons, within the autonomic nervous system which are responsible for automatic actions such as breathing and heart rate. Acetylcholine is imperative for our circadian rhythm which I is also known as our sleep patterns. Acetylcholine plays a huge role in the scheduling of Rapid Eye movement (REM) sleep, which helps the brain process and integrate. REM sleep stimulates different brain regions used with learning. It transfers short term memories in the motor cortex to the temporal lobes to become long term memories.
Years ago when I worked in Neurophysiology, I spent a considerable amount of time studying and working within the field of sleep disorders. We would always watch the amount of sleep spindles on an EEG recording. Why? Because sleep spindles fire away as the temporal lobe makes sense of new information and stores it in long term memory. If a person sleeps less than 6 hours each night, sleep spindles may be blocked and stop new information from entering long term memory. This can have long term issues in the area of memory and recollection.
There can be many reasons for mood issues and it is always worth seeking the advice of a professional health practitioner first and foremost. With the information you have been given, you can then research and make an informed decision in the area of your health and well being.
Whatever you decide to do with your health, one area we should also consider closely is diet and lifestyle. In 2009 The British Journal of Psychiatry published a study that showed people who consumed diets high in processed food were more likely to develop depression. If our brain becomes deficient or overloaded with certain nutrients or chemicals, the body’s homeostasis (state of balance) is knocked off centre.
Increase your protein
Protein is very important within your diet because foods such as chicken, fish and turkey contain an amino acid known as Tryptophan, which is a precursor to serotonin. Certain plant foods contain tryptophan, but not the high levels found in meat.
Earlier on in this article I highlighted the neurotransmitter Dopamine. As we know Dopamine is associated with elevated mood, energy and motivation. Amino acids such as Catecholamines, tyrosine and phenylalanine are precursors or substances from which an amino acid is converted into Dopamine. In order to boost Dopamine activity, we should consume foods containing phenylalanine. These foods include turkey, chicken, fish and eggs.
In a previous blog I wrote entitled “Good Fats and Brain Health” https://totalsomatics.com/good-fats-and-brain-health/
I discuss the importance of omega 3 fatty acids on our brain health. Interestingly enough, Omega 3 fatty acids are a precursor for eicosanoids. These are chemicals that influence mood, behaviour and the affect of neurotransmitter balance and regulation.
The area of mood, food and gut health is fascinating and is continually growing in research. Links to a healthy microbiome have shown in recent scientific research to help reduce inflammation and elevate mood. My blog entitled “Increasing our somatic awareness to the brain and gut connection” discusses this area further. Check it out at https://totalsomatics.com/increasing-our-awareness-to-the-brain-and-gut-connection/
What relevance does food have on our daily somatic practise?
As we grow and develop in our knowledge and understanding of health and well being, we see the correlation between healthy, wholesome food and optimal physical, emotional and mental health.
When we increase or heighten our awareness to how we feel, sense, move, respond, think, behave, sleep, perceive and talk, we notice that what we fuel ourselves on will boost or drain our health and well being.
Mindfulness with Total Somatics looks at various areas of our health and well being on a daily basis. The Second Program to accompany Movement Patterns Part 1, which is already available at www.TotalSomatics.com will be launched in January 2018. I have created my programs with a “layered learning” approach. This is so that you learn and develop somatic skills and then with program 2 and future programs, we will continue to grow and develop your skills and knowledge. Movement Patterns Part 2 will flow on from program 1 but I have developed the area of Mindset and have added lots of information, tips and advice to share with you.
Join me at www.TotalSomatics.com and allow me to educate and empower you in the area of health and well being so you can flourish and glow from the inside out with Somatic education.
See you online,
Heidi Hadley xx