Did you know that depression is considered an inflammatory disease? Recent studies have linked good mental health to an anti-inflammatory diet that is low in junk food and rich in whole foods (1,2). In fact, the same therapeutic diets that are linked to lowering inflammation and the risk of heart disease have also been associated with better moods. For example, there is a strong link between the Mediterranean diet and a decrease in depressive symptoms. (3)
Starting the Day on a Positive Note
Though starting the day with the proper nutritional components is helpful, most typical breakfast foods take hours to break down and absorb. Unfortunately, that time lag means that they can only play a minimal role in enhancing the initial hours of the day. (4)
The body is more likely to utilize nutrients quickly if they come into the body already broken down. Also, the faster the body recovers from the sleep state, the more nutrients it can extract. Some of the most important nutritional components to replenish upon waking up include:
- Electrolytes to enhance nerve/muscle action
- Water to correct sleep-induced dehydration
- Vitamin B family to replenish the adrenal glands
- Healthy fats supply the body with fuel
Other helpful components that can significantly enhance mornings include:
Compounds that have a direct effect on the central nervous system
Medicinal mushrooms: To regulate blood sugar, stress hormones, and the immune system
Adaptogenic herbs: to regulate stress hormones
Nervine herbs: to ensure a balanced mood during periods of stress
- Medicinal mushrooms: To regulate blood sugar, stress hormones, and the immune system
- Providing enough steady fuel to promote satiety and, thus, more steady blood sugar levels
What Makes a Good Breakfast
Outside of the physiological and endocrine possible reasons for not wanting to get out of bed, depression is one of the leading reasons for not wanting to get out of bed (5). Mood-boosting recipes are those that contain lower levels of sugar, more healthy fatty acids, anti-inflammatory whole-foods, and foods that fight oxidative stress. Those foods are more likely to reduce brain fog, enhance gut health, and promote healthy mood regulation for the rest of the day. (6)
How Can Food Decrease Symptoms of Depression?
The best breakfast is one that does not increase blood sugar. Though we may see dessert for breakfast as a possible choice, diets that spike blood sugar are linked to faster crashes.
Fatty fish may not sound like your typical breakfast, but it is one of the most filling anti-inflammatory foods that provide your body with healthy fats
Nut butter can maintain satiety and prevent the body from being stressed by high-sugar meals
- Sweet potatoes are one of the healthiest roots that provide the body with bulking fibre. Fibre is key for gut health
How to Influence Quick-Energy with Breakfast
Waking Up The Nervous System with Oxygen
Waking Up The Nervous System with Neurotransmitters
Waking Up The Brain To Make More Energy
Reishi is a mushroom traditionally used as a tonic for those suffering from fatigue (15). In animal models of Alzheimer's disease, it improves cognitive function and speeds up the growth of neural progenitor cells. Also, the unique terpenoids in reishi are being looked at as a possible way to treat a number of diseases that damage nerve cells. (16)
Though the benefits of reishi as an enhancer of cognitive health are still in their preliminary stages, reishi proves to be a valuable tool to reduce fatigue for those suffering from chronic illnesses like cancer. A clinical trial shows that reishi may help improve the quality of life for people with cancer by making them feel much less tired overall. (17)
Reishi mushroom can be a healthy tonic that can improve overall health by making you feel less anxious and helping you sleep better. Studies have also shown that it can give people more energy and make them stronger. (18)
Importance of Proteins
Proteins are the building blocks of almost every part of the body. Filling up on proteins means more building, better satiety, better endurance, and faster recovery. The best proteins are complete proteins, meaning they contain all of the essential amino acids that the body cannot synthesize on its own.
Complete proteins do not need to come from an animal source. Complete proteins can be obtained by pairing two incomplete plant proteins to get all the essential amino acids. On the other hand, some rare plant proteins come with a complete list of essential amino acids checked. One such protein is hemp protein.
Hemp protein contains a profile that is very similar to that of meat, with the exception of having a balanced alkaline quality (19). Additionally, hemp is considered one of the great sources of omega-3s which are anti-inflammatory and supportive of mental health.
A Word on Sleep
The body depends on the quality of sleep and the capacity to rejuvenate to initiate a healthy start to the day. Factors that impact sleep quality include:
- Level of alertness upon going to bed
- Directly affecting the ability of the brain to detox during sleep
- State of the gastrointestinal system
- Directly impacting the capacity of the liver to detox the body during sleep
- Level of toxic metabolites in the muscles/ blood
Research demonstrates that brain cells literally decompress and move further apart during sleep, making it easier for the body to remove toxic metabolites. The buildup of toxic metabolites in the brain is a natural component of healthy metabolism, and sleep is a physiological state during which clean-up is facilitated. (20, 21)
The biggest issue with sleep is that for many, sleep is no longer restful or efficient! Efficient sleep follows the natural sleep cycle and is terminated at the end of a natural sleep cycle where the brain is in a state of light sleep as opposed to deep sleep. Therefore, entering the sleep cycle with a busy mind usually results in more shallow sleep and less chance for the body to rejuvenate fully.
Another factor that significantly reduces sleep quality is sleeping on a full stomach. While it is understandable that some cannot eliminate eating after 6:00 PM, any food left in the stomach during sleep results in the body's attention, in the form of blood flow, being directed towards the stomach and the digestive process. In such cases, blood flow is more likely to skip essential areas such as the nervous system. Thus, one is less likely to wake up fully rejuvenated.
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