Food Affects Our Mood
by David Pollack
"Our digestive tracts have an enormous influence on how we feel, think and act; food can exacerbate that"
Most people, young and old, with mood and behavioral imbalances have a digestive problem, even if they don’t realize it. The digestive tract is home to many functions having little to do with actual digestion. The digestive tract contains 70 to 80 percent of the body’s entire immune system. Problems involving immune function often present as allergies, skin issues, postnasal drip, swelling and as mentioned, digestive problems.
Another major non-digestive function of the digestive tract is neurotransmitter and hormone production. Neurotransmitters are the compounds that become our thoughts and reactions to our environment. Changes in this function can cause enormous changes in mood and behavior. Hormones, directly and indirectly, are manufactured in the digestive tract. Many of these hormones control mood, appetite, blood sugar levels and other blood chemistries, among other functions.
Our digestive tracts have an enormous influence on how we feel, think and act; food can exacerbate that. Some foods irritate us and cause inflammation, while others tend to be more calmative. Sugars, simple carbohydrates, poor-quality fats and proteins, such as pork products and most conventional meats and cheeses, artificial coloring, preservatives and genetically modified foods are among inflammatory and irritating nutrition. In contrast, such foods as grass- fed and organic meets, organic or unprocessed vegetables and foods that contain no preservatives, coloring or other artificial enhancements or ripening agents are more calming by nature. Modest portion sizes also are important, as too much food makes us bloated and leads to an inflammatory cascade.
Besides improvements in health, many individuals seeking support for digestive, hormonal or auto-immune issues often report that dietary modifications lead to significant improvements in their mood and emotional state. They report increased energy, clarity and calmness and reductions in anxiety, anger and depression directly related to what they eat.
Controlling our diet and food intake can have massive effects on our mood and behavior. Ensuring we have a well-optimized digestive tract can make us feel even better and more serene. Along with dietary adjustments, natural therapies can help the body heal from the inside out. Using enzymes, nutraceuticals, acupuncture and other Traditional Chinese Medicine therapies, detoxification and cleansing regimens and a variety of other safe and natural techniques can assist the body and mind in relaxing and functioning at optimal levels.
Dr. David Pollack, DC LAc CFMP is a chiropractor and acupuncturist. He also has advanced studies in nutrition, Traditional Chinese Medicine and botanical medicine. His practice, Pollack Wellness Institute, is located at 66 Commack Rd., Ste. 204, Commack, NY. For more information, call 631-462-0801 or visit PollackWellness.com