Food and mood affect each other. But it’s important to understand how they interact to avoid emotional or impulsive eating. After all, a bucket of ice cream, fast food, fried chicken, and cola every day to overcome stress will only make the situation worse over time.
Research shows that foods full of fat and sugar only increase the likelihood of depression and anxiety. If the consumption of fat and sugar goes on for too long, your body tries to adapt to it and starts to think that it is normal. So, this can cause disorders in the digestive system and increase the level of stress.
There are plenty of other ways to improve the mood without eating junk meals. You can check out their site or call a good friend to look for positive emotions. And, yes, there is food that can help improve the mood and is nutritious and beneficial. So, let us dwell on the connection between food and mood and provide you with healthier alternatives to junk meals.
Below are three of the most prominent examples that show the close connection between food and our good mood:
- Meals are taken at regular intervals: The first example shows regular periods that must be taken between meals. Thus, the blood sugar level remains within a certain range to which the body is accustomed. If you don’t stick to your diet, your blood sugar drops below normal and causes fatigue, and in many cases, people become irritable or even anxious. Therefore, for the state of well-being during the day, nutritionists recommend regular meals every 3-4 hours (clarifying that this is not a rule). Thus, the level of energy resulting from the nutrients in food is kept relatively constant.
- Adequate fluid intake: Hydration is also an important factor in our health, both physical and mental. Since our body gets rid of water (through sweating), it is extremely critical to ensure a sufficient amount of liquid. Dehydration can indeed slow down our ability to think or concentrate. Moreover, even if it seems strange, dehydration creates cravings for unhealthy food.
- Junk meals & bad mood: Even if there is a strong link between junk food and bad mood, it’s hard to say what the cause/effect relationship is. Excessive consumption of these foods negatively affects mood, or conversely, negative mood affects excessive consumption of ultra-processed foods. Whatever the case, the conclusion is clear: we should limit our consumption of these foods or even eliminate them from our diet.
How to improve the mood
Fatigue, low mood, or anxiety are related to mental health. Food also plays a crucial role in terms of our general condition, and therefore our diet should not lack carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, and, of course, vitamins and minerals. And now, since we have a wide selection of fresh fruits and vegetables, you should eat them as often as possible. And, of course, there is an opportunity to enjoy and at the same time benefit from food.
Research also indicates that choosing healthy food, on the contrary, stabilizes the mood and increases the feeling of happiness. Those who want to improve their mood with food should pay attention to the following products:
They contain omega-3 fatty acids. The lack of such acids in the body is associated with a depressive, impulsive state.
Vegetables and fruits
They contain many beneficial elements, vitamins, and fiber, which are necessary to keep the body physically and mentally healthy.
As a special treat, it can improve mood and even reduce stress. But remember, the main thing is to choose real chocolate (preferably dark) in small quantities. If your blood sugar drops, you may feel tired, irritable, and depressed. So, don’t forget about healthy sweets.
It is not for nothing that they are brought out separately, in many countries this fruit is almost the main source of nutrition. And all because of the large number of elements, vitamins, and nutrients in it. Also, eating bananas increases the level of serotonin and, accordingly, the mood of a person.
Fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines, etc.)
A great mood booster, it also contains omega-3 fatty acids. In addition, it helps protect against cardiovascular diseases.
And what about drinks?
Here are some recommendations from nutritionists to make sure that your health (and hence, mood) is not spoiled:
- Drink water: If you don’t drink enough pure water, you may find it difficult to concentrate or think clearly, and your mood may deteriorate. It is recommended to drink about 6-8 glasses of liquid per day. Tea, coffee, juices, and smoothies are also counted, but remember that they can also contain caffeine and sugar. So, water is a must!
- Do not abuse caffeine: Caffeine, which is found in large quantities in coffee, cola, green tea, and energy drinks, is a stimulant. This means that it will give you a quick burst of energy, but then it can make you feel anxious and depressed, and disturb your sleep (especially when taken right before rest). The most frequent argument of coffee lovers is, “Caffeine doesn’t work for me anyway.” But the consequences of such a lifestyle can appear with age. Of course, you should not give up your favorite coffee completely. But make it a habit to drink caffeinated drinks in the first half of the day and limited quantities. Also, try to switch to caffeine-free versions, maybe you will like such drinks even more. You won’t notice how your health will improve as you cut back on caffeine.
- Avoid sugary drinks and alcohol: Thanks to them, the level of sugar in the blood rises and falls sharply, which in general harms health. And not everyone knows about the harm of alcohol abuse.
For mood and health, it is better to eat small portions of your favorite food 5-6 times a day, than to eat 3 times a day without being able to stand it and bursting into large portions, as well as unhealthy snacks. Eat slowly, take your time, and enjoy the food. And do not let your mood be controlled by food. Learn to make it a pleasant addition to your mental and physical health.