Angry? It might be something you ate


What we eat and how we feel is very related and important to know how it effects us. Imagine that a calm, happy life could be served on a breakfast, lunch or dinner plate, even in a brown bag. According to some, it can be. You won’t find it in a fast-food hamburger box or a vending machine. But more and more research shows there is a cor- relation between good food and good mood. “It’s a fast-food nation, and we don’t always take the time to make the connection between what we eat and how we feel,” says Kristy Lewis, a naturopathic doc- tor at Pure Med Naturopathic Centre in Ottawa. “We live in a society where people want to take a quick pill, whereas conscious nutrition is a lot of work.”Aggression is a behavior that many food experts say can be altered by diet. What we eat can even affect our sense of right and wrong.

“Food is not just something that fills our stomach. It’s very active biologically and chemically, and it affects us,” says Jack Challem, a Montreal-born author of The Food-Mood Solution. “Your body needs
vitamins, protein and other nutrients to make the brain chemicals that
helps impedes the way brain cells communicate with each other.”

While the science of food and mood is still evolving, foods linked to allergies are also on the list of suspect aggressor foods, says Lewis.

Casein, which is found in dairy, and gluten in wheat are the two culprits. According to some theories, some people get a toxic effect,
creating a substance in the body that leads to aggression or the in- ability to control behavior.”

Manufactured chemicals like aspartame and monosodium glutamate (MSG)
can also be temper igniters, Lewis says. She suggests nixing foods like instant soups and sauces that contain MSG, including foods with artificial coloring and low calorie sweeteners. Aggressive behavior can also be related to low blood sugar, so experts recom- mend that you eat more small meals that include whole grains, pro- tein and vegetables to keep levels in balance and to avoide refined carbohydrates such as bread, fruit juices and pastries that cause levels to yo-yo. On the sunny side, some foods dissipate aggression. “There is evi- dence that omega-3 fats help improve depression and aggression as well,” says Mona Moorehouse, clinical dietitian at the Royal Ottawa Hospital.

Adding protein, high-fiber vegetables and B vitamins to your diet are also good mood bets. Lewis says when diet is altered, improvements in aggression are tangible and are often seen within two weeks. To assess whether you have food-related aggressive feelings, she does recommend keeping a food journal. Jot down what you eat that day and your patterns of aggression. Lewis also recommends that taking supplements such as 5-HTP boosts the
brain’s feel-good chemical serotonin, or GABA, which induces relaxation and inhibits the over- stimulating the brain. If a good diet and sup- plementation still do nothing for your nefarious outbursts, you could check with your physician. You might behaving trouble absorbing nutrients.


Sugar: While carbohydrates initially boost mood by activating sero- tonin, you’ll also crash quickly after consuming them, making you feel cranky.

Caffeine: While caffeine improves alertness in the short term, then a crash that follows can make you irritable.

Alcohol: Alcohol weakens brain functions that normally restrain impulsive behaviors such as excessive aggression.

Wheat and milk: The main allergic response to wheat and casein in milk products is possible brain inflammation, which can cause hostility.

MSG and artificial sweeteners: Their ingredients can heighten reactions, including aggressive feelings.


Peanuts, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, almonds, artichokes, spinach, turkey, soy, parmesan cheese, gelatin, mozzarella, peaches, red peppers, papaya, corn, sunflower seeds, lentils, carrots, turnip, squash, broccoli, oats, avocado, potatoes, bran, banana, kidney beans, peas, tomato juice.

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