Food and Mood
Here's a little storey about the effect food has on mood, right down to the neurotransmitters!
Last weekend we decided to head out for dinner to a restaurant as a family.
Usually, we go to the same places that use fresh and local wholefoods to make their delicious foods! However, this weekend my husband and daughter wanted to try somewhere different, because apparently, I have been limiting their culinary experiences.
We went back to a restaurant that we have avoided for years as they use MSG (Monosodium Glutamate 621) in their cooking. My family felt it was time we gave them a second chance as new owners had recently taken over.
Of course, the food was loaded with MSG (and yes they are still allowed to use MSG in restaurants) and of course my husband and daughter thought it was the most delicious food they had ever tasted. Why? Because nothing gives you a flavour hit quite like it. MSG makes things taste good, really good and it even has the ability to send messages to your brain to tell it “Eat More, Eat More!!”. Which is exactly what my husband did much to my dismay and we wonder why there is an obesity epidemic.
What is Glutamate and how can it affect our mood?
MSG contains glutamate and glutamate is an excitory neurotransmitter. Neurotransmitters are responsible for sending messages to our brain. At normal levels glutamate plays an important role in sensory perception and memory.
However, studies have shown that high levels of glutamate in the brain can cause over excitation of the brain cells and injure them and even kill them! Pretty scary stuff, so we want to keep our glutamate levels in check.
The big question is can MSG in our foods impact on our brain? Most research out there will say no, it can’t cross the blood brain barrier to enter our brain. But our experience shows us different results, we see that when we reduce glutamate from a child’s diet it can greatly improve their symptoms of anxiety.
If you balance the excitory and inhibitory neurotransmitter then a child has greater chance of regulating their emotions.
So, back to my story…
About half an hour after we got home my daughter was on the couch in pain “Mum, my stomach and my head hurts, they must still use MSG!”
My husband pipped up “Ohh well at least we have been avoiding that restaurant for a reason”
Then my daughter cried out “I AM NEVER GOING THERE AGAIN!”
I was very proud of myself as I didn’t reply with “I told you so!”