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Does my mood affect my nourishment?

Just like what you eat can influence how you feel, how you feel can influence the quality of nourishment that you gain from the foods that you eat. Following are some of the ways in which mood and nourishment are interrelated.

When you feel stressed, a cascade of different stress hormones (including glucocorticoids) are released. These chemical messengers have modulating effects upon a variety of body systems that can impact nourishment.

One of the outcomes of increased glucocorticoid levels is potential depletion of certain nutrients, including zinc, potassium and B-complex vitamins. What this means is that if you experience chronic stress, you will need to ensure that your diet provides you with sufficient amounts of these nutrients in order to avoid the risk of subclinical or clinical deficiency.

Stress hormones can also interfere with the functioning of insulin, with constant stress being a risk factor for insulin resistance. Stress can create blood sugar imbalances that have a host of outcomes upon the body, including the cells’ reduced ability to be nourished by glucose provided in the diet.

While the exact cause and effect has not been identified, stress is also able to cause increased permeability in the intestinal wall, a condition referred to as “leaky gut”. One of the outcomes of leaky gut is reduced nutrient absorption since the body is unable to selectively uptake the nutrients it needs.

Having low moods, or experiencing depression, may also impact nourishment. One of the ways that depression and nourishment are related is that individuals who are depressed are more likely to be deficient in a variety of nutrients including iron, selenium, folic acid and omega 3 fatty acids. Therefore, these individuals would require more of these nutrients in their diet in order to regain nutrient balance.

In addition to looking at how mood affects nourishment from a biochemical perspective, you can also look at this question from the perspective of personal experience. Think about a recent meal that you ate while being stressed, angry or anxious. Now think about a meal that you ate when you were relaxed, peaceful and happy. Chances are in the latter experience you felt better, more vitalized and more nourished from the foods you were eating. This is the best way to eat, where you can enjoy true fulfillment and nourishment from the foods you eat.

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