The food we eat does influence the way we feel, think and look like.
Of course, there can be many reason why someone is unhappy, but before we go and examine the mental part of it, it is worth to look at the nutritional side.
Our brain is a complex thing. What If I told you that you have another complex thing located in your gut? A mysterious second brain? What if I told you these brains connected through a chemical called Neurotransmitter (let’s just call them “messengers”)? Yes, that is right! It is called gut-brain axis. Do you think when you have a bad diet/lifestyle it does affect the way you feel, the way you think? Of course, it is! The key to happiness is to maintain this precious connection within!
It is a fact that people do not aware that certain vitamins & minerals can trigger feeling of sadness, even depression. If you ever feel down just ask yourself if you get the necessary nutrients to run your body on 100%!
Ladies and Gentleman the “Be Happy Starting Pack” includes:
Why Is Vitamin B Important?
These are water-soluble vitamins (dissolving in water-are carried to the body’s tissues but are not stored in the body) and actually lot of food contains them, but they are very delicate and easily destroyed by cooking and alcohol!
In this group you can find: B1, B2, B5, B6, B12 and Folic Acid (as they are water-soluble vitamins, they must be replenished on a daily basis).
B1 (Thiamine), B2 (Riboflavin), B3 (Niacin) & B5 (Panthothenic Acid): converts food into energy, maintains healthy skin, hair and nails. Helps mental focus and brain function.
B6 (Pyridoxine): prevents anxiety by helping the amino acid tryptophan to convert into niacin and serotonin (one of our happy hormones) for healthy nerve function and also helps appetite, mood, healthy sleep cycle, immune system function and red blood cell production.
B7 (Biotin): helps to reduce blood sugar by synthesising glucose, helps to break down fat cells.
B9 (Folate): merges with vitamin B12 and Vitamin C. Essential for healthy brain development and for healthy red blood cell formation. It is very important to take before and during pregnancy!
B12 (Cobalamin): helps keep the body’s nerve and blood cells healthy and helps make DNA, the genetic material in all cells. It also helps to prevent anemia.
These vitamins are responsible for many functions in the body, the most important among is methylation.
Methylation is how your body keeps balance between thousands of neurotransmitters, hormones and other essential biochemicals.
Few symptoms of poor methylation are:
Low energy, depression, anxiety, hormone imbalance, obesity, poor detox capacity, infertility, birth defects, risk of cancer, fatigue…
There are many other factors that interrupts your methylation processes, these are the following;
- Poor diet
- Toxic Exposures
- Decreased Stomach Acid
Some Tips To Optimize Your Methylation Processes:
- Minimize sugar, animal protein and saturated fat
- Eat leafy greens – kale, spinach, bok choi, collard greens, beet greens, mustard greens
- Avoid processed foods & canned foods
- Keep your bacteria in your gut health (you can read more about it in my previous article)
- Limit alcohol
- Don’t Smoke
- Get more B vitamins in your diet:
B1 – beef, liver, nut. oranges, seeds, pistachio, rye, soybean, macadamia, peanut, pistachio
B2 – mushroom, eggs, fish, green leafy vegetables, oat, almond, red meat, beef, lamb
B5 – turkey, duck, beef and especially animal organs such as liver and kidney, salmon, lobster, shellfish, whole grain breads and cereals, lentils, split peas, avocado, broccoli, sweet potatoes, corn, cauliflower, kale and tomatoes
B6 – chickpeas, tuna, salmon, turkey, potatoes, banana, rice, nuts, raisins, onions, spinach, tofu, watermelon, squash
B9 – legumes, asparagus, eggs, leafy greens, beets, brussell sprouts, citrus fruits, broccoli, nuts & seeds, beef liver, papaya, banana, avocado, Fortified grains.
B12 – animal liver and kidney, clams, beef, sardines, tuna, fortified nutritional yeast, trout, salmon, eggs
Vitamin C Alias Ascorbic Acid
Centuries ago scurvy was a popular and deadly disease among sailors who sailed extended distances without fresh food and supplies. What we know as vitamin C was in short supply on most ships. Lacking of this vitamin caused them bleeding gums, loose teeth, haemorrhaging under the skin, slow healing wounds and eventually death.
Albert Szent-Györgyi was a Hungarian-born researcher who certainly decreased the death on sea by discovering ascorbic acid (vitamin C) extracted from paprika. He received a Nobel-prize for his work in 1937. He was a brilliant mind and we cannot be thankful enough for him!
It might be surprising for some, but people who have vitamin C deficiency often feel fatigued, depressed, low in energy, have frequent mood changes or feel lethargic. With the help of Vitamin C our body can use carbohydrates, fats and protein efficiently.
It is one of the best vitamin to take that support the immune system and the connective tissues. Vitamin C can also lower cortiosol (stress hormone) levels.
Natural sources of vitamin C in mg:
|Medium red pepper||342|
|Mange Tout, 100g||60|
The sad truth is that vegetables loses their vitamin C content during cooking. Especially boiling! That method of cooking kills heat sensitive vitamin C in the food. Knowing this I like to take 1000mg vitamin C supplement every day just to be sure!
The Sunshine Vitamin D
If you live in a country where there are not enough sun, having intolerance, allergies or you follow vegan lifestyle you might be at risk for vitamin D deficiency. This essential vitamin helps the body to use calcium from the diet = strong bones!
There are some cases when you don’t absorb enough vitamin D from food because you don’t get enough exposure to sunlight.
Your liver or kidneys cannot convert vitamin D to its active form from in the body. Maybe you take medication that interferes with your bodies ability to absorb or convert vitamin D.
It occurs naturally in some foods like fish liver oils, some fish and egg yolks.
Low levels of this crucial vitamin associated with the following:
- Cognitive impairment in older adults
- Severe asthma in children
- Increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease
- Impaired wound healing
- Bone loss
- Muscle pain
- Frequent infections
There are many variables influence the amount of UVB from sunlight that reaches the skin. These include season, time of the day, clothing, sunscreen, altitude, latitude. Pigmentation and age. Sometimes those who reside in a sunny climate they are deficient in this vital vitamin too, especially elderly.
There are limited amount of foods contains vitamin D, getting the right amount from diet alone is a bit difficult. Too much sun can cause skin cancer, so supplements might be needed. The recommended daily amount of vitamin D is between 400-800 IU/day or 10-20 micrograms. In case of more serious deficiency we can talk about 1000-4000 UI/day (25-100 micrograms).
Iron Deficiency Symptoms and Recommended Dosage
Iron is an essential component of haemoglobin, an erythrocyte protein that transfers oxygen from the lungs to tissues. It is also a fat-soluble mineral. It means that it gets stored in fat cells and in the liver. As it gets stored it is important to take the recommended dosage if we don’t want to fall on the other side of the horse In case of deficiency there is a good few month supplementation needed to make up the necessary amount of iron.
When I was a child I battled iron deficiency quite a lot. Nowadays it happens, but luckily not so often! If you see my kindergarten group photos I was the one shining like a diamond with my pale skin!
There is a very easy test do to at home if we want to find out whether we lack or not. People suffer from iron deficiency the inside of their lower eyelids are pale white, instead of reddish.
There are other signs that can point to that direction;
- Cold hands and feet
- Headaches, dizziness or lightheadedness
- Shortness of breath
- Tiredness and lack of energy (lethargy)
- Heart palpitation
- An altered sense of taste
- Hearing sounds that come inside of the body (Tinnitus)
- Headache on one side of the head
If you have these symptoms that you most likely need to add more iron containing food to your diet and probably a supplement won’t hurt either.
Luckily, there are loads of high iron containing foods like;
Liver and red meat, beans and lentils, tofu, baked potatoes, spirulina, nuts and seeds, dried foods, brown rice, dark chocolate, sardines, green peas, dark leafy vegetables (not spinach though, that is a myth) -sorry for Popeye lovers…he was sure on anabolic steroids-!
Here is the daily iron intake recommendation from The National Institute of Health:
Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for Iron
|Birth to 6 months||0.27 mg*||0.27 mg*|
|7–12 months||11 mg||11 mg|
|1–3 years||7 mg||7 mg|
|4–8 years||10 mg||10 mg|
|9–13 years||8 mg||8 mg|
|14–18 years||11 mg||15 mg||27 mg||10 mg|
|19–50 years||8 mg||18 mg||27 mg||9 mg|
|51+ years||8 mg||8 mg|
* Adequate Intake (AI)
Bear in mind when you take iron it must be taken along with Vitamin C, otherwise it doesn’t absorb. You should not take iron with calcium, antacids, milk or caffeine. These interfere with the absorption!
Things To Remember
- Vitamin B group contains water soluble vitamins essential for various metabolic processes
- Vitamin C supports immune function and boost collagen production therefore supports joint health
- Vitamin D supplements does not absorb without sun exposure
- Iron does not absorb without Vitamin C
The absence of as little as a nutrient can cause wide variety of symptoms. Just think about the sailors and take a look at your diet and lifestyle.
When you chose your supplements make sure it is from the best source, preferably organic if it is available!
Let me know if you have any questions, you can also leave comments below! 🙂