Though you may not exactly be what you eat, food greatly impacts our physical and emotional well-being. The 21st-century diet centered on heavily processed foods seasoned with health-hazardous artificial ingredients is already taking a hefty toll globally, as the number of nutrition-related chronic diseases and affected population continues to multiply every year.
Unfortunately, the effects of bad dietary choices do not stop at skin level: food also affects our energy, mood, and cognitive function. But how exactly does food impact our frame of mind, and which ingredients are our mood’s best allies?
Food and mood: The science behind the link
A light breakfast and a generous Thanksgiving feast affect our mood differently – the first one will get our engines up and humming, while the latter will make us slow and sleepy. Dietary ingredients differ in chemical buildup and neurological responses they trigger: caffeine, alcohol, and sugar- and fat-rich foods cause an inflammatory reaction in the nervous system, thus impacting a drop in mood, energy, and focus, while grubs with a balanced nutrient ratio nourish both our physical and emotional body.
For this reason, foods that go gentle on hormones, metabolism, and neurotransmitters are your mood’s best friends, whereas those that disrupt the body’s chemical balance are your emotional stability’s worst enemies.
Foods to boost mood
You can use the fact that every dietary ingredient has a different effect to your frame of mind’s advantage. Here are some suggestions on how to adjust your menu for peak gains.
Wind down by snacking almonds, pumpkin seeds, and leafy greens. High in tryptophan and magnesium which get depleted through stress, these foods help achieve stable mood, serenity, and healthy sleep. An odd glass of wine also promotes relaxation as it curbs adrenalin release and calms the nervous system.
Unleash happiness with extra rations of spinach, asparagus, sunflower seeds, beans, peas, eggs, fish, and, meat. Folate- and B vitamin-rich staples enhance cognition, stress management, and emotional balance, keeping depression at bay.
Stabilize mood and combat anxiety by adding leafy greens, nuts, legumes, and eggs to your menu. Foods high in B complex vitamins maintain serotonin balance and prevent depression, helping the body cope with stress and keeping our mood stable.
Avoid mood dips by munching onions, lettuce, and tomatoes. These veggies contain chromium, a chemical important for insulin regulation. Insulin oscillations are linked to mood swings, so these fresh vegetables will help keep your mood and blood sugar on the safe and steady side.
Skirt the blues with extra servings of seafood, Brazil nuts, fish, flaxseed, and red meat. Omega-3 fatty acids and tryptophan found in these ingredients boost serotonin release (especially when paired with whole grains for increased absorption), thus promoting cognitive function and reducing risk of depression and anxiety.
Hack peak focus with avocados, seeds, nuts, beans, bananas, poultry, lamb, eggs, lean beef and higher water intake. Rich in tryptophan, tyrosine and zinc, these foods instantly boost alertness and energy, while H2O promotes exchange of nutrients in the cells and facilitates detoxification.
Kick up energy by second helpings of seafood, clams, spinach, tomatoes, leafy greens, and bell peppers. Iron, protein, and vitamins B12 and C are a byword for optimal energy, and a menu lacking in them is fertile ground for anemia, lethargy, mood lows, and general sensitivity.
Other ingredients that positively impact the mood include blue-green algae (which pack chemicals critical for insulin regulation, blood vessel health, and detoxification), low-fat dairy, and other osteoporosis foods which promote both physical and mental well-being. Adjusting the menu for peak mood 24/7 is not all that difficult: you just need to be aware that the foods used to prevent and treat serious diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and hypertension are also your mood’s best ally. Bon appétit!
Sophia Smith is an Australian based beauty, lifestyle and health blogger. She is very passionate about yoga, organic food and healthy lifestyle. Sophia writes mostly in beauty and lifestyle related topics, mainly through blogs and articles. She is a regular contributor at Ripped.me.