Have you ever considered how food can directly influence your mood, and vice versa? How do you feel when you haven’t eaten for a while and you are hungry? Does your brain turn to fog and the cranky-pants version of you emerge? This happens when you haven’t eaten enough food to provide blood glucose to your brain, meaning it is time to eat!
Do you always feel tired, even after a good sleep? This could also be related to food and lack of nutrients from your diet in some form or another.
How is your memory and concentration? Do you feel like you are in a daze and quite forgetful a lot of the time? This can also be caused by a deficiency in certain foods.
Our food and mood are intricately related, but there are some simple steps we can take to regulate both of these so we can feel positive, clear headed and happy.
1. Eat regularly:
Food is fuel; skip a meal and you’ll feel tired and cranky. Don’t get yourself into a state of hypoglycemia – which is the #1 trigger for mood issues.
2. Don’t skimp on carbs:
Carbohydrates have long been demonized, but your body needs carbs to produce serotonin—a feel-good brain chemical that elevates mood, suppresses appetite, and has a calming effect.
Only complex carbs—high in fiber and packed with whole grains—have a positive effect on mood, whereas simple carbs such as candy, cake, cookies, and other sugary choices, bring you down. Need a quick mood boost? Try an all-carb snack, like a couple cups of air-popped popcorn or half a whole-grain English muffin.
3. Get enough omega-3 fatty acids:
Omega-3s improve both memory and mood. Good plant based sources include ground flaxseeds, chia seeds and walnuts.
4. Get enough of these nutrients:
Iron, vitamin B1, B6, folic acid, selenium, and vitamin D!
5. Watch your fat intake:
Greasy choices—particularly those high in saturated fat—are linked to both depression and dementia. Go for healthy fats- like those found in avocados and nuts- which can help to boost your mood rather than dampen it.
6. Moderate your caffeine intake:
In moderate amounts, caffeine can enhance physical and mental performance, but too much can spur anxiety, nervousness, and mood swings. Stick to one or two cups daily to dodge the negative effects.
Are there any foods that you know cause certain negative or positive reactions in your body? Share in the comments!