There is a well-known saying that is ‘We are what we eat’ and, analyzing what this phrase implies, you are absolutely right. The digestive system acts almost as a second brain and is capable of totally influencing a person’s mood , whether it is someone with a healthy rhythm and standard of living or not. The latter is due to the fact that our body, although it is made up of different differentiated parts and with very specific functions, is completely connected to each other .

The digestive system is closely related to the nervous system and the latter is precisely in charge of making the mind work, emotions and controlling hormones and other regulatory substances in the body. All this control and connection with the rest of the body makes a person’s own emotions , as well as his mind, directly connected with their effects on the body, and vice versa.

Relationship between the nervous and digestive systems

One of the subdivisions of the autonomic nervous system is found in the enteric nervous system , a structure quite unknown by many and which, years ago, has not been given as much relevance as other more studied and known systems such as the central nervous system. the endocrine or immune system. Well, what the enteric nervous system is mainly responsible for is the digestive system and whose function lies in controlling all the functions of the intestine .

This system is made up of small groupings of nerve cells, ganglia, neuronal connections, and nerve fibers that provide a supply to the muscles of the intestine, its epithelial lining, the blood vessels found therein, and the gastroenteropancreatic endocrine cells. All these connections make the enteric nervous system, after the brain, the one with the largest number of neurons and cells .

All this infinity of connections that the enteric nervous system presents, obviously, and belonging to the nervous system, makes everything that happens in our digestion process automatically affect our mind. It is important to know that the digestive system not only influences the brain, but also the brain and the mind affect the digestive system. In this article, Bekia explains how and in what way a certain food can affect your mood and your behavior and daily actions.

How does a food influence our mood?

Before knowing how a certain diet or a certain food can affect the mood, it is important to know that even when nothing is ingested, this already influences the mind. If the stomach is empty , the body enters an almost violent search for food and one can become cranky from hunger. On the other hand, if the diet is not healthy and balanced, it is likely that many essential nutrients and amino acids are lacking , something that would slow down or modify the intestinal creation of such important neurotransmitters as serotonin or dopamine .

Serotonin and dopamine are two key substances in regulating mood. While dopamine is an excitatory neurotransmitter because it stimulates the brain, serotonin enters into inhibitory neurotransmitters because it calms the brain. The lack of these two substances, whose segregation depends on the foods that one can eat and that contain the amino acids that produce them, will affect your mental and physical health .

Importance of nutrients

Having a good diet, and by this one refers to a varied and natural diet , will help your body receive all the necessary nutrients and that these translate into a good appearance, good physical shape and aesthetics and excellent mental health. The foods that one should eat more are those natural and totally contrary to the ultra-processed because in these you will find quality calories and full of nutrients that will make your body work 100%.

By eating everything and in a varied way, your body will receive all kinds of nutrients that are essential for the body itself to secrete and manufacture the substances that are responsible for regulating appetite, mood, and the sleep cycle. , emotions and a long etcetera. Two of the most relevant chemicals are dopamine and serotonin, whose manufacture comes from essential amino acids .

When a person focuses their diet on ultra-processed products that do not contain nutrients despite the high doses of calories they provide, they do not receive enough vitamins, proteins, carbohydrates and healthy fats. The translation of this lack of nutrients, collected by the digestive system, would be the lack of manufacture of neurotransmitters that would cause the mood, social behavior, appetite or memory to be affected.

Lack of dopamine causes a lack of motivation , low energy, and poor digestion of food. In addition, other symptoms that those with a lack of this substance suffer the most is that they feel fatigued and tired all the time. As for serotonin, its absence or low levels can even cause anxiety, depression or other diseases such as immunosuppression. However, if the levels of both substances are correct, a healthy person enjoys a happy mood, motivated by any challenge that comes their way, happy and excited.

What foods to eat for a good mood?

As for dopamine, its manufacture and segregation occurs from the amino acid tyrosine ; and as for serotonin, it is synthesized from tryptophan . Not suffer insufficiency of both, feed natural foods such as the oats , a complex carbohydrate , which are whole foods, which favors the production of tryptophan. Another of the most popular foods can be chocolate , although without exceeding one or two ounces a day and consuming the purest and without added sugar, as it is one of the most famous products when it comes to producing serotonin and dopamine.

Within the fruit, one can consume banana and pineapple , foods that provide a great natural injection of energy thanks to their incredible contribution of vitamins, tryptophan, natural sugars and fiber. In short, if you watch your own diet and focus on eating mostly natural products and avoiding processed ones, you are unlikely to be lacking important nutrients . If to this is added an active lifestyle through sports, one will see how their mood improves remarkably. 

Elle Mcdonald

I am Elle Mcdonald Specializations in Psychology . Graduated in psychology from the University of Tennessee in 2000. Diploma of Advanced Studies in the Department of Personality, Evaluation and psychological treatments with excellent results.

First Level of Master in Clinical Psychology at the Center for Behavioral Therapists (recognized with a scientific-professional nature by the College of Psychologists)

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