Improve Your Mood With Food
Can the food we eat affect our mood and help to balance our hormones? According to Ayurveda, the 5,000 year old sister science of Yoga; yes it can! Ayurveda recognizes three body types/constitutions called doshas and each of us is comprised of a unique combination of these doshas. Ayurveda teaches that how we prepare and consume our food impacts our ability to successfully meet life’s daily demands, so consistently making good nutritional choices for our particular body constitution reduces the amount of stress experienced in the body. The first of the three doshas is Vata, which has an airy energy governing the nervous system. Vata’s are often creative and artistic, active and often somewhat spacey. Imbalance manifests physically as fear, anxiety and even insomnia, and also includes cold hands and feet, dry skin and digestion problems such as bloating or constipation. Warm foods prepared with oil that have sweet, salty or sour tastes are best for balancing this body type. (Think baked squash or sweet potatoes with olive or coconut oil, or toasted, salted nuts.) Second is Pitta; this dosha type has a fiery energy that drives digestion and intuition. Out of balance Pitta may experience heated emotions such as anger or frustration and can be affected physically by heat related conditions such as overheating, skin rashes or high blood pressure. Pittas are known to overwork and digestive issues such as diarrhea are not uncommon. Foods to help balance Pitta are cool, refreshing foods with astringent, bitter or sweet flavors. (Think fruits, raw vegetables, coconut, lentils and milk.) Lastly is Kapha dosha; like the earth itself, Kapha can be grounded and heavy. Out of balance Kapha may experience weight gain, water retention, sinus congestion, lethargy or depression. Dryer foods with bitter, pungent or astringent flavors are best to bring Kapha into balance. (Think tea and coffee, rice, corn, large beans or lightly sauteed greens.) Whether you choose to eat according to Ayurvedic concepts or not, it is clear that diet has a huge impact on our body’s ability to maintain overall wellness and balance, both of which influence mood.