You’ve heard the old maxim, ‘You are what you eat’? Well, now a team of American researchers has uncovered evidence that how you feel is also effected by what you eat. And your age has an important role in determining what you should eat to be balanced and happy at different times of your life…
Researchers at Binghamton University in New York State recently asked people aged teens and up to complete a Food Mood Questionnaire.The focus was on food groups associated with brain chemistry and brain biology. And the results were surprising.
Lead researcher Professor Lina Begdache says her team discovered that, “mood in young adults (18-29) seems to be dependent on food that increases availability of neurotransmitter precursors and concentrations in the brain (meat). However, mood in mature adults (over 30 years) may be more reliant on food that increases availability of antioxidants (fruits) and abstinence of food that inappropriately activates the sympathetic nervous system (coffee, high glycemic index and skipping breakfast).”
What that means for you
If you’re in your teens or twenties, Meat will elevate up your mood. If you’re over thirty, you should consume more anti-oxidants and go easy on foods that promote the stress response, such as Coffee and any form of carbohydrates.
For me, that explains why at my age I’m drawn to entrées such as Wraps, which are stuffed with lots of Veggies, and Stuffed Peppers, and Salads. It may also explain why I prefer the Pico de Gallo and Guacamole sauces when I’m dining Mexican. I could be that we learn to go with foods that make us happy, once we’ve made the (unconscious) association between specific foods and our moods.
Still more to learn
Professor Begdache notes that her group’s questionnaire was completely anonymous and didn’t differentiate between male and female respondents. She’s interested in exploring any differences that might exist between male and female subjects at various ages.
“There is a gender difference in brain morphology which may be also sensitive to dietary components, and may potentially explain some the documented gender-specific mental distress risk,” said Begdache.
I’m going to try to follow the professor’s rules and see how my mood is effected…
~ Maggie J.