How What You Eat Affects How You Feel
I’m sure we´ve all heard of the saying, “you are what you eat.” Well, this statement has more truth to it than most of us are probably aware of. The foods we eat actually have an effect on our brain chemistry, thus impacting the way we feel. While some foods, such as those high in sugar, can negatively impact our moods, other foods can make us feel calmer and happier. Read on to see the ways in which foods alter our moods, and also find out about how you can improve your state of mind through what you put into your mouth.
Are you eating often enough?
Eating at regular intervals ensures that our blood sugar levels remain steady. Likewise, it means our bodies are receiving a consistent and continuous source of fuel, which helps to keep our minds at ease. Remember that not eating enough calories can have a negative impact on the way we feel as it makes us feel groggy, tired, and have low energy.
Are you skipping meals?
I’m sure we’ve all fallen victim to the idea that we’ll lose weight if we eat less – meaning if we skip meals, we’ll shrink in size! Not only is this notion untrue, but it usually means we’ll overeat at our next meal. More importantly, however, cutting out essential food groups means we’re denying our bodies of the fuel it needs to produce serotonin (the chemical in our brains that makes us feel good). Remember, if you keep yourself from getting too hungry, you’re more likely to ward off a bad mood. Yay!
Are you getting enough vitamins and minerals through your diet?
A diet that lacks essential vitamins and minerals can cause fatigue and even worse – depression. It can also inhibit our ability to concentrate. This is because certain nutrients are crucial for maintaining a healthy brain chemistry. For example, a diet particularly low in omega-3 fatty acids will likely make us feel down in the dumps.
Are you eating too many processed foods?
The biggest culprits that put us in bad moods are refined carbohydrates (such as sugar). Junk food, candy, and sodas, for example, make our blood sugar levels fluctuate as if they were riding a rollercoaster. This in turn leaves us feeling moody and cranky. Refined white starches (think white bread and rice) also have a similar effect. And let’s not forget about alcohol. Alcohol disrupts our sleep patterns and we all know how we act when we’re running on too little sleep… yikes.
So, what can we do to improve our moods through food?
- Fill up on the “feel good foods” such as protein and fiber
Not only do protein and fiber slow the absorption of carbohydrates in our blood, but they also increase the release of dopamine in our brains, and dopamine=happiness!
So stock up on eggs, poultry, fish, and oats
- Eat your essential vitamins
Get your vitamins through eating lots of veggies. Vitamins such as Vitamin D relieve mood disorders whereas Folate and B-12 help ease depression.
To add these to your diet, eat dark leafy greens, broccoli, lentils, and even salmon.