There is a well-known relationship between diet and emotional state, as improving what you eat can lead to: positive feelings, more energy, clearer thinking, and calmer moods. Here are five tips on food and mood.
How regularly do you eat?
If you don’t eat regularly, you blood sugar will drop, leading to feelings of fatigue, irritability, and depression. You need to eat regularly to keep your sugar level at a steady level, and choose foods that release energy slowly. Some slow-release energy foods include: protein rich foods, nuts and seeds, oats, and whole grains.
Some tips to eat regularly are: eating breakfast gets the day off to a good start, and instead of eating a large lunch and dinner, try eating smaller portions spaced out more regularly throughout the day (Mind, 2016).
Do you keep yourself hydrated?
Not drinking enough water can make it difficult for you to concentrate or think clearly. Dehydration can also make you feel constipated, which puts no one in a good mood. On top of drinking water, herbal or green tea, or diluted fruit juices are great ways of keeping you hydrated.
You need at least 4 cups of water, or other healthy beverages, to stay hydrated. Some water is in your food, but you need to drink the rest. Ordinary tea and coffee don’t count, because the caffeine in them takes water out of your body. Alcohol and sugary drinks don’t count either (Mind, 2016).
Are you having too much caffeine?
Caffeine may help you feel more alert in the morning, but having too much can make you feel anxious and depressed, and disturb your sleep. Caffeine is found within teas, coffees, chocolate, cola and other manufactured energy drinks. You may feel noticeably better if you reduce your caffeine intake or avoid it all together (Mind, 2016).
Do you get your 5 a day?
The minerals, vitamins, and fibre we need to keep us physically and mentally healthy are found in ample amounts in vegetables and fruits. Eating a variety of different coloured fruits and vegetables, remember to eat the rainbow, means that you’ll get your required range of nutrients. For example, tomatoes, mushrooms, and bananas all contain high levels of potassium, which is essential for your whole nervous system, including your brain (Mind, 2016).
Are you eating the right fats?
We always hear that we should avoid all fats, but some fatty oils (such as omega-3 and-6) help your brain work well. So instead of avoiding all fats, it’s important to eat the right ones. Healthy fats are found in: oily fats, poultry, nuts (especially walnuts and almonds), olive and sunflower oils, seeds, avocados, milk, yogurt, cheese, and eggs.
It’s important to avoid anything with ‘trans fats’ and ‘partially hydrogenated oils’ in them, which are usually found in things like store bought cookies or chips. They can be tempting in the short term, but bad for your mood and your physical health in the long run (Mind, 2016).
Mind. (2016). How can food affect mood? Retrieved from http://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/tips-for-everyday-living/food-and-mood/#.VwZ1FBMrIcg