How your food influences your feelings

The foods you eat play a vital role in your overall health NetFramework 4.8 Download.  Making healthier food choices won’t only help control your waistline, but will also help lift your mood, and give you a long-lasting boost in energy and focus.

Your brain is responsible for producing the neurotransmitter serotonin, which helps keep you happy, calm and relaxed. Providing your brain with sufficient fuel, allows it to produce the right amount of serotonin to regulate your mood.

Studies have shown that there’s a link between diet and mental health. Even though there isn’t a single food that will improve your mental health, a healthy balanced diet plays a critical role in keeping you both healthy and happy.

Eating for mental health

Healthy fats found in fish and extra virgin olive oil have important anti-inflammatory effects that play a role in decreasing the risk of depression.

Whole grains like brown bread, rice and pasta are fibre-rich foods and help promote the growth of good gut bacteria.

Fruit and vegetables are packed with important nutrients and antioxidants that help prevent cell damage throughout the body.

Fermented foods like yoghurt can help encourage the growth of good gut bacteria.

Nuts, seeds and legumes are good sources of plant-based protein, healthy fats and fibre.

Don’t forget to drink water, it will keep you hydrated and help you feel more alert and productive.

Brighten up your mood with these foods

Berries: Blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries are all high in vitamin C, which can help your body withstand the negative impact of cortisol, a hormone that’s released when you’re stressed.

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Beans: Black beans and lentils are all rich in magnesium, a mineral that supports relaxation and calmness.

Dark chocolate is full of antioxidants, supporting a positive mood and healthy cognition.

Fish: Mackerel, salmon, sardines, and trout have high amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids, which can alleviate anxiety.

Herbal teas like chamomile, have calming properties. Black, green, white and red (rooibos) teas are also rich in antioxidants.

Leafy greens like kale and spinach are loaded with mood-moderating magnesium.

Foods to avoid

If you struggle with drastic mood changes and low energy levels often, avoid these foods and drinks that could be likely culprits:

  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Sugar
  • Bread
  • Pasta
  • Potatoes
  • White Rice
  • Processed foods
  • Fast foods

Top tip: when you start a new diet, slowly introduce new foods to allow your body to adjust. This will help determine whether you have any food allergies or not.  

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