Monday, 26 April 2010

Food is Mood

Food is medicine. It effects your mood and your behavior. When you think about food as medicine and how it effects you, it is recommended that you take the right type of medicine, in the right dosage and at the right times. Taking the wrong medicine, at the wrong dosage, and at the wrong time turns your medicine into poison.  And I am sure you don't want to be taking poison.

To illustrate how food effects your mood, when clients come in to see me with anxiety or anger issues, one of the first things to look for is their diet.  Low blood sugar has very similar symptoms to anger and anxiety.  A simple shift in some dietary habits and moods can change.

Let's take a quick look at Anxiety or Anger. They are characterized by: racing thoughts, obsessive thoughts, worry, reliving past events, hyper-vigilance, avoidance, restlessness, angry outbursts, irritability, muscle tension, difficulty sleeping, sweating, trembling, shortness of breath, feeling light-headed, chills or hot flashes and fatigue.

Hypoglycemia, or Low Blood Sugar is characterized by: nervousness, trembling, increased heart rate, palpitations, sweating, hunger, irritability, headache, lack of focus, mental confusion, and in severe cases, unresponsiveness, unconsciousness and convulsions.

Why are the symptoms of anger, anxiety and hypoglycemia so similar?  Because they are caused by the same hormone. Adrenaline....our flight or fight hormones. Anger is the getting ready to fight and anxiety is the flight. It gets the body ready to engage in either beating the crap out of someone or running as fast you can. It increases the heart rate, respiratory rate and sends blow flow to the muscles as well as decreases digestion and stimulates your amydgala of the brain.

Your brain's primary fuel is glucose. When it gets low your brain gets worried and to function well it well tell your adrenal glands to release adrenaline in order to increase glucose. Now your brain is fed, but your body is revved up to fight or flee...thus putting you in a state of anxiety or anger...and you don't know why!

I am advocate of eating food as close to its natural state as possible. We, as humans, prior to the agricultural revolution, lived on lean meats, fruits, veggies and nuts.  Check out how to follow a Paleolithic mimics foods we are designed to eat and can keep our moods and bodies in great shape. I am not an advocate of strict dieting but eating 'clean and lean' or in other words, foods you can gather wearing a loin cloth and carrying a stick, is a good idea.  Also, exercise.  We are designed for movement...not just sitting on the web writing and writing blogs. Which reminds me...time for some stretching.

Thanks Doug for allowing me to invade your post.

Hands palm to palm,