|Vertumnun by Giuseppe Arcimboldo|
Food can have many adverse effects on the mind, especially in January when everyone is trying to live up to the New Year resolutions of cutting down on all those fatty foods; however, some research shows that the path to healthiness can influence our mental health.
For example, many people consider the cutting-all-carbs diet and removing them all together. However, carbohydrates produce tryptophan, an amino acid, which aids in the production of serotonin and the more of this hormone the more the mood tends to improve. Research has shown that a very low-carb diet is said to enhance fatigue and reduce desire to do exercise after only a few weeks.
Caffeine in an example of the complex relationship developing between food and us. Caffeine is found in many drinks such as tea, coffee, cola drinks and chocolate, all of which we take when we’re feeling tired to give us a boost. However, too much caffeine can cause symptons such as anxiety, nervousness and depression.
Lifetime-dosing nutrients have been popular, recently, in the press. This category includes the antioxidant rich foods such as colourful fruit and vegetables, fish and olive oils and fruit juices. People who eat these foods do not report acute changes in their thoughts and moods. However, they certainly benefit from consuming them regularly over their life span. In general, the benefit comes from the fact that all of these foods provide our brains with some form of protection against the most deadly thing we expose ourselves to everday - oxygen. Because we consume oxygen, we age. Thus, people who live the longest tend to eat food rich in anti-oxidants.
There is also no denying that, from time to time, we all need a bit of self indulgence; my mood food is my Mum's fudge-wedge brownie to give me that little boost after the long days at school (recipe below):
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs slightly beaten
1 cup plain flour
0.5 tsp salt
a.25 tsp baking powder
*1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)*
Turn oven to 160o
Put butter and chocolate together in a bowl and melt.
Add sugar and vanilla to the bowl and mix in, and then allow to cool.
Beat in the eggs
All together sift in the flour, salt and baking powder into the bowl and fold with the other ingredients. (Add chopped walnuts)
Cook for around 30 minutes.