Is what you're eating impacting your mental health?
WINNIPEG -- The saying "you are what you eat" reigns true for Juliana Avella, a certified holistic nutritionist.
Avella says the foods people eat have a significant role in their mental health and the medications they take.
"Sometimes people need to listen to their bodies and see if they have too much of this or that in their diet," she says.
Avella says foods like alcohol, coffee and refined sugar can create an imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain.
"Avoiding this type of food can make you feel better," said Avella.
Serotonin, dopamine and GABA are neurotransmitters that control mood and can be thrown off by foods like sugar, which triggers the release of serotonin.
According to Avella, the best way to counter the adverse effects of some foods is to detox.
"Organic vegetables, whole grains, good fish and less red meat will help you detox your diet and bring in omegas and healthy nutrients that make you feel better," she says.
Adding food high in vitamin B, like beet juice, nuts and eggs are essential to feeling good.
Avella says B complex, specifically B12, B9 and B6, reduces fatigue and boosts your mood.
Some examples of foods that are high in vitamin B are eggs, nuts, beets, oats and whole grain rice.
"Shiitakes are a good example. They are rich in vitamin B, D, iodine and proteins and all the amino acids that make you feel great without eating too much meat," says Avella.
Avella notes chromium and selenium are also important nutrients in regulating serotonin and insulin levels. Brazil nuts and meats are the best sources of selenium.
Avella also says feeling good can be a matter of determining if you have intolerance or allergies.
"Sometimes, I have lots of cases in my office that we identify an irritant and taking it out of the diet is better than taking some medication," she says.
Avella stresses that listening to your body is the best thing you can do.
Always consult a health care professional before changing your diet or fitness program.
-With files from CTV's Alex Brown