Have you ever noticed the connection between your emotions and what you eat? You may think of the stereotypical image of someone eating chocolate or other sugary foods after an emotional breakup. Studies have shown that there is a food-emotion connection that sheds light on why we consume certain foods based on how we’re feeling. Crunchy foods are often associated with nervousness and anxiety, foods high in fat, sugar, and grease are often comforting and correlate with feelings of sadness, repressed emotions, and depression.
However, just as our emotions can contribute to the food we choose to eat, our diet can affect our emotions.
Our brain contains Dopamine and Serotonin (which are neurotransmitters that affect our mood and functioning). Low dopamine can be associated with depression and mood, and low serotonin can be associated with symptoms of anxiety. In addition to meats like wild-caught salmon, dark leafy greens, avocados, and many other healthy foods have been directly linked to an increase in dopamine in the brain. While leafy greens, and other foods high in tryptophan, can increase serotonin.
In eastern medicine, such as Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda, it is believed that there are categories of our diet, and when we consume too much of one category, it can lead to an imbalance in the body and contribute to mental health challenges such as anxiety, depression, and insomnia. If you’re interested in learning more about this, I recommend looking into Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic medicine
I know that vegetables like dark leafy greens don’t always feel exciting, but the physical and mental-health benefits of eating them are fulfilling.
The vegetable that I am highlighting this week is… *drumroll*, Parsley!
A few benefits of Parsley:
Supports kidney function
Great for skin health due to it being high in Vitamin C, Zinc and other vitamins
High in Chlorophyll (great blood purifier and anti-inflammatory)
Fights bad breath
High in Potassium, Calcium Vitamin K, and Iron
This Week’s Recipe:
Fresh Lentil Salad (with Parsley!)
1 cup dried green lentils - or 1 can cooked green lentils (I like to use precooked ones from trader joes)
1 English cucumber
1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
2 tomatoes and/or sundried tomatoes
1/2-1 bunch curly parsley
Optional: kale, spinach, or other greens
6 mint leaves
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese or vegan feta
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt to taste
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard (optional)
1 Tbsp honey
All information presented and written my articles are intended for informational purposes only. You should not rely on this information as a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health-care professional.