Colorful Foods for Healthier Moods
Updated: Jan 4, 2021
Fruits & Vegetables are the [Real] Rainbow. Consuming an array of fruits and vegetables is essential to protecting and equipping our immune system. In addition, the regular consumption of fruits and vegetables can serve as a catalyst for maintaining healthy emotional wellness. If we are not well, we may not have the energy to make and meet our health goals.
If we are snacking and consuming nutrient deficient foods regularly, it is possible we will weaken our immune system and overall, not feel our best both physically and mentally.
If we get too much food, or food that gives our bodies the wrong instructions, we can become overweight, undernourished, and at risk for the development of diseases and conditions, such as arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease. In short, what we eat is central to our health. (University of Minnesota, Denton, LN)
Encouraging clients in their wellness journey is the highlight of my role in the health industry. When working with me, I require a 5-day food diary. In our first coaching session, I teach a tri-color concept and its continuum. After a color-coded review, it helps the client identify patterns easily and make changes based on recommendations that align best with their needs and values.
In general, the tri-color concept goes as follows:
Green represents all fruits and vegetables (as close to nature as possible). Yellow represents healthy foods like fish, seeds, lean meats, nuts, olive oils, whole grains, dairy and soy (organic when possible). The last color is red and includes foods that are void of nutrition and may include other foods that are high in sugar, salt, and empty calories.
Narrowing down what to eat to three colors can help alleviate frustration, anger, doubt, sadness, confusion, and anxiety. The tri-color continuum isn’t summarized above but can be learned with a consultation with me.
What foods should we be consuming regularly? Our day should consist of mostly green and yellow light foods. If you’re working on strengthening emotional wellness, I encourage you to eat as many fruits and vegetables throughout the day. Strive for a minimum of 5 servings and vary your options. Choose organic or locally grown when possible.
Which foods should we avoid or at best, limit consumption? Caffeine, alcohol, and sugar. Sugar has become one of the ingredients in our culture that literally feeds on our illnesses. Replace artificial sugars with natural and then reduce consumption. Need caffeine? Instead of a soda, reach for 70% dark chocolate. Alcohol addiction? Speak to a licensed or medical professional for guidance and support.
Sugar causes the blood sugar to fluctuate so it can increase the symptoms of depression. Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables as well as lean sources of protein (N.D.D., p 51, Sears).
Research supports eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and yellow light foods including wild caught fish can help alleviate symptoms of depression. Research is ongoing in the area of diet and mental health. You will find countless publications on the correlation between what we eat and how it affects our mood (Harvard Health). Antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables come highly recommended as well as fermented foods and probiotics for gut health (Antioxidants, Basel). When we nourish our body, the outside will reflect our inner beauty and health vitality.
What are Omega 3s and why are they beneficial to us? We can find Omega 3 sources in both plant and marine foods. In its most basic sense, Omega 3s (and an array of healthy fats) are needed for our brain in order to function, rebuild, and repair. You can find Omega 3s in cold water fatty fish (salmon, tuna, sardines), in nuts and seeds (walnuts, flaxseed and chia seed), plant oils (flax oil), and fortified foods (cereals, certain eggs, milks, yogurt) (NIH, 2020). Our body cannot make this essential fatty acid so we must obtain it from outside sources (The Omega 3, p 18, Sears). For a chart on how much to consume from birth to adult, visit the NIH link in the sources below.
Recap on what green and yellow color foods can do for us:
+ You’ll have more energy because you’ll be enjoying foods closest to their natural state.
+ Your body will get the nutrients it needs to run optimally.
+ You’ll have a change in heart and mind, literally.
+ There is power and healing in the daily consumption of fruits and vegetables.
Antioxidants (Basel). (September 2019). Linking What We Eat to Our Mood: A Review of Diet, Dietary Antioxidants, and Depression. Link.
Gut Feelings: How Food Affects Our Mood. (March 2019). Harvard Health Publishing. Uma Naidoo, MD. Link.
National Institutes of Health. (October 2020). Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Fact Sheet. Link.
University of Minnesota. How Does Food Affect Health? Carolyn Denton, LN. Link.
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