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Can Food Affect My Mood?. Jodi Bjurman, RD, CDE Outpatient Dietitian El Camino Hospital. The answer is…. Yes! Ground rules Every BODY is different Chronic disease complicates the issue Not an endorsement for supplements Body chemistry is very complicated. Next Key Questions.
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Can Food Affect MyMood? Jodi Bjurman, RD, CDE Outpatient Dietitian El Camino Hospital
The answer is… • Yes! • Ground rules • Every BODY is different • Chronic disease complicates the issue • Not an endorsement for supplements • Body chemistry is very complicated
Next Key Questions • HOW does food influence mood? • What does this mean to me personally? • Can I learn dietary strategies to break bad cycles?
Can Food Affect My Mood? • INSTRUCTIONAL GOAL: • The participant will be able to enjoy a sustained sense of health and well-being by purposefully selecting appropriate foods and eating patterns.
Can Food Affect My Mood? • Objectives: At the end of this seminar, you will be able to… • 1. Describe at least 2 ways that food can change brain chemistry. • 2. Name the most important factors in maintaining brain power and energy. • 3. Design an eating strategy for subduing food cravings.
Digestion Food goes in Food is stored, mixed, emptied Food is digested and absorbed Food is excreted http://www.umm.edu/digest/images/digest.jpg
Nutrition Basics:The Breakdown of Nutrients • Simple sugars are quickly absorbed • Glucose is sent to the liver, used for energy or transformed into fat • Complex carbohydrate digest more slowly • Gradually become glucose • Protein is broken down into amino acids • Sent to the liver, then on to support muscles, or changed into glucose for energy, and then to fat for storage • Fat is absorbed slowly as fatty acids • Absorption requires very little digestive energy
From the gut to the brain • Blood brain barrier • Nutrients absorbed into blood stream • Carried to brain • Cross blood brain barrier • Used to activate or create neurotransmitters • Neurotransmitters affect brain function • Brain function affects mood http://www.rienstraclinic.com/newsletter/2006/images/April-2006_html_m62f7cc24.jpg
Chemicals that influence eating – to name a few Adapted from Food and Mood by Elizabeth Somer, 2nd Edition
Serotonin Carb rich snack Serotonin levels rise and mood improves, carb cravings subside Insulin secreted Blood levels of amino acids (except tryptophan) drop Tryptophan converts to serotonin Tryptophan high in blood, readily enters brain Adapted from Food and Mood by Elizabeth Somer, 2nd Edition
Serotonin Eat protein-rich meal/snack Person feels depressed, irritable, craves carbs Blood levels of amino acids rise (including tryptophan) Very little serotonin is made Amino acids compete for entry to brain Very little tryptophan gets in Adapted from Food and Mood by Elizabeth Somer, 2nd Edition
Dopamine/Norepinephrine Protein-rich snack A person feels more energetic and clear-headed Levels of tyrosine in blood increases Dopamine converted to norepinephrine via Vit C Levels of tyrosine in brain increase Tyrosine increases conversion of Dopa to Dopamine Adapted from Food and Mood by Elizabeth Somer, 2nd Edition
Acetylcholine Choline from diet or supplement Thinking and memory improve The brain makes acetylcholine Blood choline levels rise Brain choline levels rise Adapted from Food and Mood by Elizabeth Somer, 2nd Edition
Neuropeptide Y (NPY) Glycogen stores are low NPY levels drop Desire for carbs increases and carbohydrate is eaten Blood-sugar levels drop Brain register low blood sugar and sends message to hypothalamus Hypothalamus releases NPY Adapted from Food and Mood by Elizabeth Somer, 2nd Edition
Galanin Person follows restrictive diet or woman’s estrogen levels rise during menstruation or pregnancy Galanin levels drop Galanin is released from the hypothalamus A person desires and consumes fatty foods Adapted from Food and Mood by Elizabeth Somer, 2nd Edition
Carbohydrates and Mood • Increase serotonin levels • People feel “happier”, “calm”, and “satisfied” • Turn on endorphins • Sugar touches your tongue, endorphins are released • Basic instinct to crave sweets • Warning: impact on blood sugars
Protein and Mood • Essential for normal development of nerve system • Many neurotransmitters are composed of amino acids or choline (fat-like substance) • Consume too little • Body limits neurotransmitter production • Person experiences changes in mood, appetite, and thinking
Fat and Mood • Increases transit time through the GI tract • Helps initiate feelings of fullness • Cholecystokinin secreted when bowel senses fat, closes pylorus, stomach fills, hunger suppressed • Enhances flavors, aromas, textures • Craving sweets or salt? Probably craving fat too… • Omega-3 fatty acids linked to mood enhancement • Survival instincts drive desire for fat
Micronutrients • Key in the development of the nervous system • Essential for neurotransmitters • Assist with manufacture of neurotransmitters • Aid in neurotransmitter activity • Protect them from damage • Over- and under- consumption have negative consequences • Can contribute to depression, irritability, food cravings, mood swings, and thinking problems
Pit falls to avoid • Caffeine • Skipping meals or strict dieting • Sugar • Processed foods • High intake of saturated fat • Ignoring the signs • Being sedentary
Brain Power • Confused? • Brain fog? • Unfocused? • Poor memory?
Brain Power • Clear thinking • Focused • Alert • Quick problem-solving
Fueling the Brain • Check your diet before blaming your age. • Eat breakfast. • Include protein in your midday meal. • Don’t forget Omega-3s. • Protect brain tissue with lots of antioxidants. • Promote maximum brain function with daily vitamins and minerals.
Energy • Burned out? • Lethargic? • Slow to react? • Sleepy?
Energy • Fully awake • Energetic • Invigorated
Energizing Strategies • Meals: low in fat, contain protein, low sugar • Frequent small meals • Plenty of fluids • Avoid alcohol • Avoid caffeine • Pay attention to diet quality • Whole foods, wide variety of colorful produce
Conquering Cravings • Be aware of how food affects YOU • Keep a food and mood journal • Make the connection with brain chemicals • Craving for sweets: serotonin • Craving for fat: galanin • Avoid deprivation • Find healthier substitutes • Maintain moderation • Work with an expert (Registered Dietitian)
References • Somer E. (1999) Food and Mood: The complete guide to eating well and feeling your best, 2nd edition. New York, NY: Henry Holt and Company, LLC. • Null G. (2000) The food-mood-body connection: nutrition-based and environmental approaches to mental health and physical well-being. New York, NY: Seven Stories Press. • Roizen, M and Oz, M. (2006) YOU: On A Diet. The Owner’s Manual for Waist Management. New York, NY: Free Press, Simon & Schuster, Inc.