Have you ever stopped to think about your mood and emotions? Are you happy, sad, stressed or angry? I do this every day- if I’m anything less than happy then I know that something has to change.
Since transitioning to a mostly raw vegan diet and practicing daily meditation, I have rarely been able to say that I’m unhappy- I cannot believe how happy I feel on a day to day basis just because of the food I am choosing to nourish my body with. Even a visit to my local vegan grocery shop, Unicorn Grocery, makes me so incredibly happy and excited! I truly can’t remember a period in my life where I was this happy and full of life- thank YOU raw veganism!
Many studies have shown that there is a direct link between nutritional deficiencies and depression. One of the possible side effects of depression is loss of appetite. So, if somebody who has depression loses their appetite, resulting in more nutritional deficiencies, things will end up going in a downward spiral.
Which nutrients will help me to be happy?
Carbs in the form of fruit & veg play an important role in brain function and mood. A meal rich in good carbs triggers the body to release insulin which allows the body’s cells to allow sugar from the blood into them. The cells then use this sugar for energy and the release of Tryptophan into the brain which helps to stabilise the neurotransmitter levels in the brain, assisting in controlling mood.
Obviously vegans don’t get any protein in their diet…YAWN.
Protein from nuts, seeds, legumes and vegetables contribute to nourishing your body with essential amino acids. These amino acids can affect the brain’s function, thus, protein deficiency can directly relate to poor mental health due to the neurotransmitters being made up of amino acids.
Of all the organs in the body, the brain has one of the highest levels of fats, therefore, it is essential to supply your body with omega-3 fatty acids to maintain healthy brain function. Where can you get this on the vegan diet? Flaxseed, chia seeds, spirulina/seaweed, walnuts, hemp, leafy greens, cauliflower, berries (also rich in antioxidants!), wild rice, melon, mango and many, many more!
B-vitamins are essential mood-improving vitamins. Studies have shown that low levels of vitamins B1, B2 & B6 are directly linked to low mood and anxiety. These vitamins can be found in nutritional yeast, pine nuts, watermelon, seeds, spiralling, soy, whole grains, quinoa, prunes, tomatoes, potatoes, wild rice, avocado, sweet potato & chickpeas… to name a few! Vegans must take a Vitamin B12 supplement, add spirulina to their diet or source foods which are fortified with the vitamin due to the fact that animal products have the highest amount of vitamin B12 than other food groups.
These are just some of the food groups which are essential for maintaining healthy brain function on a daily basis, but as you can see, the vegan/raw vegan diet easily meets all of the requirements to make you happy every day!