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Food & Mood...

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By Anna Sewall (triathlete.com)

By helping us with everything from pushing watts to celebrating a birthday, food plays an important role in how we experience daily life—it even affects our mood. If you’re looking for a happier outlook, understanding the link between mood and food can help.

Mood and Food: The Relationship
1. It Improves Brain Health and Function
Certain nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, magnesium, and other nutritional gems found in produce have been found to promote expression of a protein in the brain called Brain Derived Neurotropic Factor (BDNF). BDNF allows your brain to form new connections and pathways. A healthy brain can make new connections easily. Eating foods rich in the above nutrients increase BDNF and you get better brain function. What you eat can literally help rewire your brain and grow new neurons.

2. It Modifies Systemic Inflammation
Phytonutrients, often thought of as antioxidants, are plant-based compounds that play a role in cell signaling which influences genetic expression and control inflammation. Exercise causes inflammation so athletes usually have more inflammation to deal with on top of what’s generated by daily living activities. By eating brightly colored fruits and veggies you reduce inflammation, which can boost your mood.

3. It Impacts Your Gut Microbiome
Gut microbiome is a hot topic right now and—buzzword aside—it is worthy of some attention. Certain types of fiber are known as prebiotics, which feed the friendly bacteria in your gut. This helps your gut bacteria produce multiple goodies, such as short-chain fatty acids that lead to a healthier digestive system as well as serotonin, a feel-good neurotransmitter. Basically, fiber can directly feed our little friends that pump out good vibes and make their home (your digestive system) a happier place for them to thrive. READ MORE

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