More on Food and Mood
Food is essential for the body to keep going, however with the vast array of food in the modern world it does not mean we are always making the best choices when it comes to food. There is a direct link between the foods we consume and the way we feel, or our mood. The way food is made up, and the components within each meal we have, can dramatically alter our feelings and mood, and this can be further compounded by when we eat.
Stick to the Basics
First of all the most important thing is to ensure that you are eating enough food. Blood sugar is one of the key stabilising factors of a healthy body and something that is often overlooked. Fad diets popularised by celebrities are often pushing people into unhealthy eating habits. There is nothing that says you have to eat huge meals three times a day, in fact to the contrary, but eating properly at regular intervals is vital. If you are hungry, you are not going to be in the best of moods. If it goes deeper than this and your blood sugar levels are affected, you can also become confused and angry as the body struggles to work.
One of the biggest culprits that most people can name when it comes to food and mood is sugar. Fast food, sweets and other ‘junk’ may well be convenient and comfortable, but a high sugar content simply leads to a spike in blood sugar. This might send you into a hyper happy mood, but it will be short-lived. Once the sugar is processed further into the body, the ‘crash’ will leave you feeling grumpy and lethargic. Sugar is not healthy for the body anyway and is thought to prevent the natural development of healthy cells, so a good one to avoid where possible.
At the other end of the scale, protein is a great mood booster and can help you stay happy and in balance all day, provided you eat it regularly. This is because they make the processing of carbs go slower which in turn releases essential chemicals norepinephrine and dopamine (the feel-good factor). Protein does not have to be all about the meat either, even on a healthy, low-fat, vegan or vegetarian diet, there are plenty of options available: Tofu, eggs, seafood, yogurt, and chicken to name just a few.
The other thing to guard against if you want your diet to promote a happy mood is missing those essential vitamins. Sadly the climate has changed in the UK, and we do not get as much access to sunshine, which generates that all-important vitamin D, so we need to look for more of it in food. Vitamin D candidates are low-fat milk, egg yolks, and soy milk. B vitamins are also great for mood and energy levels, and B12, in particular, is a real mood lifter. Try adding more broccoli, leafy greens, oranges, oatmeal, cottage cheese and salmon to your diet to help your body absorb B vitamins from food.