How Food Affects Your Mood

By Marisa Ramiccio. May 7th 2016

Does your mood swing from happy and content one minute to irritated and irascible the next? Or do you feel downright depressed, stressed, tired or sluggish? Believe it or not, your mood is not only affected by what you’re doing or the people around you; your mood can actually be affected by the food you eat. Learn more about how food can affect your mood and tips for choosing the right things to eat.

How Food Affects Your Mood

When it comes to its effect on mood, food doesn’t always get the credit it deserves. We all know that if you eat healthfully, your skin glows, your body develops properly and numerous health conditions can be avoided. But what some people may not know is that eating healthily can have just as positive of an effect on your mood. Here’s how food can positively affect your mood:

  • B vitamins can relieve depression – Some studies have linked low levels of B vitamins to depression. Researchers believe that it may play a role in the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates your mood. Because of this, it’s believed that B vitamins may be help to help treat those with mood disorders such as Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD.
  • Thiamine can put some pep in your step – Thiamine is a type of B vitamin that’s found in whole grain cereal, pork, eggs and cauliflower. Researchers have found that thiamine can boost your sense of well-being, your sociability and your energy level.
  • Omega 3 fatty acids improve your mood – Omega 3s can boost your mood as well as your memory. They can also prevent fatigue and improve your focus.
  • Iron wards off fatigue – Eating iron-rich foods can keep you from feeling fatigued or depressed. It can also boost your attention span.
  • Complex carbohydrates can boost your mood – Complex carbs, which can be found in whole grain foods, elevate your mood, help you relax and suppress your appetite.
  • Protein makes your happy – Protein slows the absorption of sugar in the blood, which means you’ll feel happier and more productive for a longer period of time. Plus, eating protein will help to suppress your appetite.

Conversely, eating unhealthy foods can negatively impact the way you feel. Here’s how:

  • Fatty foods can slow you down – Eating foods that are high in fat are tougher to digest, which means that your body will have to do more work to break them down. Because your stomach has to work overtime, you’ll feel more tired and sluggish.
  • Fatty foods can also make you feel depressed – Foods that are high in saturated fat have been linked to depression and dementia. Of course, eating fatty foods also leads to weight gain, which can make you feel depressed.
  • Refined starches can lead to mood swings – Refined starches are found in white breads, crackers and cereals. Eating too much of them, as well as sugary snacks and drinks, can cause your blood sugar to spike and drop, leading to a mood swings and ultimately, a bad mood.

Eating Habits Can Also Affect Mood

Sometimes it’s not so much what you eat that affects your mood. In some cases, your eating habits may be to blame. These are the eating habits that can leave you down in the dumps:

  • Not eating enough – A growling stomach is enough to make anyone feel grouchy. So when you feel hungry, eat. Food is the fuel that keeps your body going and if your body doesn’t get enough of it, it begins to shut down, which leads to feelings of fatigue and crankiness.
  • Skipping breakfast – Breakfast is the most important meal of the day because it will prevent cravings and help you maintain a healthy weight. To find out more, check out: Top 10 Benefits Of Eating Breakfast.
  • Not paying attention to what you drink – The drinks you consume can affect your mood just as much as the food that you eat. For instance, coffee and soda can cause you to crash, but beverages like milk and green tea can help boost your mood.

Cutting carbs and not getting enough nutrients in your diet are other bad habits that will negatively affect your mood.

Foods That Boost Your Mood

So what should you be eating to get those important nutrients? These foods should do the trick:

  • Poultry, seafood, eggs – These foods are great sources of mood-boosting protein.
  • Sweet potatoes, beans, apples and pears – These foods are all good sources of insoluble fiber, which, like protein, will slow the absorption of sugar in the blood, causing you to feel happier longer.
  • Nuts, salmon and flaxseed – These foods are excellent sources of omega 3 fatty acids.
  • Lean beef, cottage cheese, spinach and shellfish – These foods are all rich in vitamin B12.
  • Yogurt, milk, fish with bones – These foods have high amounts of vitamin D, which increases the amount of serotonin in your body.
  • Chocolate, berries, tea – Studies suggest that the chemicals found in the flavors of these foods can elevate your mood.

The bottom line is, you are what you eat, and that includes the way that you feel. If you eat a lot of junk foods, you’re going to feel like junk. But if you eat a healthy, well-balanced diet, you’ll feel happy, upbeat and more productive in your daily life.


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