Food and Mood, An Article Published in Brainz Magazine May 5, 2022

I am a top 500 contributor for Brainz Magazine, an international digital publication.  This article published this morning  to be an complementary piece to go with my 5 podcasts on depression.  If you would like to read the article in Brainz.




We are having a health crisis in the United States. Depression is increasing in both adults and teens. Depression has also increased overseas, according to the World Health Organization.


There is a 25% increase in depression amongst adults in the US. The isolation we experienced due to Covid-19 contributed to this increase. Being isolated seems to have been a private hell for some. Sometimes, our significant other relationships brought too much closeness and turned hostile. Sometimes, it was just the lack of in-person socializing and community. Perhaps, all the alone time we experienced allowed old traumas to surface, or maybe we lost loved ones in the pandemic.

Recently I read that the #2 cause of death amongst teenagers is suicide as the culmination of deep depression.


According to an article in Atlantic Magazine, teens feel increasing sadness and hopefulness. The depressed teens come from all demographics. This includes every race and every sexual orientation. They are both males and females and from every school grade. So why do experts believe teens are dealing with more depression?


The reasons cited were social media usage, lack of sociality due to Covid-19, living in a stressful world, depressing world news, and finally, modern parenting strategies that are failing our youth.


I did a series of four podcasts on depression on my podcast, It Feels Good to Feel Good, Futureproof Your Health. Suicide is personal to me; I lost two beloved relatives and a close college friend to suicide.


The classic signs of depression:

  • Oversleeping, even during daytime hours

  • Trouble sleeping at night (Insomnia)

  • Loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy

  • Social withdrawal

  • Irritability

  • Anxiety

  • Feeling guilty or hopeless

  • Low energy levels

  • Decreased sex drive

  • Inability to focus or concentrate

  • Changes in appetite, typically an increased appetite and cravings for carbohydrates and sweets resulting in overeating

  • Sudden weight gain or weight loss

  • Changes in appetite, typically an increased appetite and cravings for carbohydrates and sweets resulting in overeating

  • Sudden weight gain or weight loss

Someone who chooses to be isolated is an early sign. Encourage your loved one that it is okay to be blue, and it is okay to talk about it with you. If not with you, your loved one should seek someone else who is non-judgmental.


As a health coach, I want to chime in on the subject. I do not want any of you to feel the despair of losing a loved one and being haunted that there must have been something else that you could have done to change the outcome. The reality is that you can be there to listen and encourage, but it has to start with the person who is depressed finding help and sharing what they are going through.


I first present a Tell Me Your Story episode on my podcast on with a young entrepreneur who was so busy building her business that she failed to practice self-care. She did not share her dark mood with anyone. Suddenly, her best friend committed suicide. She had no idea that her best friend was depressed, and this was her wake-up call. She closed her business, regrouped, found the love of her life, married him, and now has a company helping other young entrepreneurs be financially healthy and emotionally happy, practicing self-care at the same time.


From there, I do four more podcasts. The first podcast explores the traditional approach. No one should suffer alone. There should be no stigma if you are feeling depressed. Mental health is a body out of balance, just like a chronic illness is a body out of balance. The first step should be to seek professional help; one should either seek a medical intervention, which could include anti-depressants, or explore therapy if there is a trauma causing the depression. I discuss all the signs of depression in my first podcast because I do not want you to miss them. Then, I discuss all the lifestyle changes that would improve mood.


The second podcast in the series is on Food and Mood. What we eat dramatically can affect our mood. Healthy food is the factor that I believe is overlooked.


We are not eating FOOD with nutrition. We are eating processed food loaded with chemicals and sugar, salt, and poor-quality fats, and we are eating fast food that is no better. We are not giving our bodies the proper nutrients to function, and we are getting out of balance.


As a result, we are 37th in the world in health. An estimated 133 million Americans – nearly half our population – suffer from at least one chronic illness. In addition, the world is eating our processed food products, so they are also beginning to experience poor health and dark moods.


When you fix your body, you fix your broken brain. As a result, your energy, memory, focus, and joy will all increase.


Poor quality food directly impacts all our feel-good hormones. Neurotransmitter dysfunctions can influence food and drink choices. Amino acids, B vitamins, and other nutrients can help restore and heal brain chemistry. Sugar is a legal drug that can create an imbalance in our body and our mind. Food has a powerful influence on our personality.


There is evidence that gut microbial plays a role in developing insulin resistance. Every time you eat, you stimulate insulin spikes. Eating poor quality food and a highly-processed diet is addictive and loaded with too much sodium, sugar, artificial flavors, synthetic chemicals, and toxins like pesticides. The same thing behind our major health conditions, i.e., Type II Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome, Heart Disease, Cancer, Non-alcoholic Fatty liver, Thyroid issues, and Autoimmune diseases, is behind our depression and fatigue, and brain fog issues. It would seem that cutting out these foods would be easy once we know the ramifications, but still, it is not happening. These foods are deadly to our physical and mental health, but they are highly profitable to our manufacturers. We can choose to change our diet to eat the rainbow of whole organic foods to correct this situation.


At least 30-40% of our population has a poor functioning digestive system.


Mental illnesses are highly prevalent, disabling, costly, and inadequately treated. For example, individuals aged 15-44 struggle with depression, and this condition is the leading disability worldwide.


Improving awareness of alternative options for psychiatric illnesses is essential for our general public. There is a growing body of evidence that food choice may play a role in preventing brain-based disorders, particularly depression. The first nutritional guidelines to prevent depression were published this year.


What we need to be eating are whole organic foods. Why organic? Because we do not need pesticides, which are poisons in our body with every bite. Whole foods from the entire rainbow spectrum so that our bodies get the vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that we need to function. The rainbow so that we are feeding our body the variety to keep us functioning optimally.


You have heard that “we are what we eat.” Nutritional psychiatry is a new field, but the early conclusions are we are also what our gut bacteria eat. There is a direct connection from our gut through our vagus nerve to our brain. In addition, our gut itself makes one of our major feel-good hormones, serotonin.


Your gut bacteria manufacture about 95 percent of the body’s supply of serotonin, which influences both mood and GI activity. “The bugs in your gut determine more about your health and your emotional and mental well-being than you ever imagined.”


Studies have compared “traditional” diets, like the Mediterranean and traditional Japanese diets, to a typical “Western” diet. They have shown that the risk of depression is 25% to 35% lower in those who eat one of the traditional diets versus the Western diet. Scientists account for this difference because these traditional diets tend to be high in vegetables, fruits, unprocessed grains, and fish and seafood and contain only modest amounts of lean meats and dairy. They are also void of processed and refined foods and sugars, staples of the “Western” dietary pattern. In addition, many of these unprocessed foods are fermented and therefore act as natural probiotics.


The good gut bacteria influence what your gut digests and absorbs, and they also affect the degree of inflammation throughout your body. Inflammation directly impacts mood. The factor that determines which microbes will thrive in your gut and which will not is your diet. Your gut bacteria eat what you eat.


Eating the Standard American Diet (Western Diet) dampens our feel-good hormones, directly impacting our mood. The other “feel good” hormones are dopamine, oxytocin, and opiate endorphins. Our diet also affects our blood insulin levels, which directly creates mood fluctuations that influence how we see our world.


In other words, eat more fruits and vegetables and watch the impact it will have on how you feel about your life. Add other lifestyle changes. Exercise, get out into nature, learn stress-releasing breathing and other mindful practices, get adequate sleep and watch your moods become much sunnier and bright.


Eating whole organic fruits and vegetables will positively impact your mood. It will do you no harm. And even if I was wrong and this does not balance out your emotions, you are feeding your body health, bringing your body back into balance.


The third podcast is about the minerals and vitamins your body needs for a good mood. Finally, the fourth video discusses our hormones and how to bring them into balance.


I conclude that poor health occurs when our bodies are out of balance. Mental health is also determined by whether or not our body is in balance. Depression and ill health are signs that our body is out of balance. Begin to do the things within your control to bring balance back to your body. You will quickly discover just how It Feels Good to Feel Good.


You are what you eat. Eat from the farmacy so that you do not need the pharmacy in the future. Eat to feel your best. Eat so that down the line, you ward off disease. Eat so that you are happy and feel terrific, and all your hormones are functioning correctly. Eat to have a bright and sunny mood, and then practice the other pillars of self-care.


Never forget that you cannot be great if you do not feel great. You do not need anyone’s permission to live a healthier life, and the rewards are many. It’s never too late to adopt healthy habits.


THese are my 5 podcasts for an in depth look at depression

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