If you’re anything like me, you find yourself reaching for the sweets after a long, stressful, and a less than cheerful day. That cupcake sitting on your counter, those chocolates sitting in your snack cabinet, and that cookie dough hanging out in your fridge seems to just be calling your name. There’s nothing like curling up in bed and drowning your sorrows in Netflix and comfort foods after a trying day. But, while these foods give you immediate ease and bliss, the long-term effects are much more concerning.
Your typical comfort foods do in fact have a relaxation effect and it all comes down to science, serotonin to be exact. See, people who consume foods high in carbohydrates have high serotonin levels. So, why are comfort foods considered bad for your mental health if they do in fact have positive effects towards your moods?
Lets break this down. Serotonin is a mood boosting neurotransmitter. Now normally, the release of serotonin is controlled by food intake. Other factors, like sleep, can also play a part but food is the more common player in the release of this compound. Now, comfort foods are usually foods high in carbohydrates, which is a direct link to the release of serotonin. Perfect, right? Not really because as always, there is a catch.
The positive effects of comfort foods are relatively short-term and the long-term effects will bring you right back to why you picked up that brownie in the first place. Foods that are high in carbohydrates, sugars, and fats lead to things like weight gain, yeast infections, and low energy, all things that can lead to symptoms of depression.
Now how do we naturally curve those food cravings while improving one’s all around mood? Well according to Dr. Josh Axe, a certified doctor of natural medicine and nutritionist, the secret is B12 vitamins and Omega-3 fats. B12 is immensely important in one’s neurological system. In order to up your B12 intake, raw dairy products are the way to go. Along with these, food such as eggs, salmon, and organic meats are the gateway to your very own B12 island paradise.
So, where do Omega-3s come in? Well, Omega-3’s are healthy fats and that’s the key right there.The brain is made up of 60% fat so the consumption of healthy fats makes all the difference. Raw fish and omega-3 supplements are things you should definitely incorporate into your diet.
Now, before I send you off to indulge in a hearty head of broccoli and lean meats, let’ straighten a few things out. You don’t need to ditch the cookies or brownies, I mean who in their right mind really can? As a self-diagnosed chocolate addict, life without sweets sounds painful. Just remember, balance is key and portions are your friend.
Also, if you’ve been battling with things like depression and anxiety or even if you’re not too sure, talk to your doctor. They are a great asset and will help point you in the right direction. Even if you don’t feel as if therapy or medication is the right track and want to start with simply altering your diet, still talk to your doctor. They will be able to monitor you and ensure you are on the right and healthy track. So, be free my damsels, and enjoy those B-vitamins and Omega-3s. And remember, a little indulgence every now and then never hurt anybody.