6 Ways to Boost your Mood with Food
6 Ways to Boost your Mood with Food
With the current uncertainty surrounding the world, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed, angst, and fear. During these times, it’s likely that we’d be reaching out for sweets or salty snacks because of how satisfying they are. However, most of the time what ensues is a blood sugar crash that can make you feel irritated. Just as eating certain foods can elicit a negative reaction, certain foods are also known to improve your mood and well-being.
Admittedly, it’s hard to be in quarantine and not reach for some of your favourite snacks because of either boredom or feeling on edge. While there’s nothing wrong with snacking a little, it’s hard to resist or maintain self-control. If you’re already feeling blue, processed foods or baked goods can create a yo-yo effect on your blood sugar which can drive anxiety and worsen mood.
Here’s a look at some specific foods and habits that may help in boosting your mood during this time.
Eating Fresh and Unprocessed Food
It’s a no-brainer but eating fresh fruits and vegetables is a good way to boost your mood. Ideally, you should be eating four servings of fruit and at least five servings of vegetables a day. For snacks, you can opt for raw vegetables and fresh fruits rather than other snacks that are high in sugar, fat, or salt.
If you’ve got to purchase canned or dried vegetables and fruit, that’s perfectly fine. However, make sure that you’re choosing those that have no added salt or sugar. At the same time, take care not to overcook your vegetables as this can lead to the loss of important vitamins.
Drink Enough Water
Reduce your Salt and Sugar Intake
While water isn’t exactly a food, it’s an important fact that needs to be highlighted here as we tend to forget to drink enough water – especially when we’re busy. Water helps in transporting nutrients and compounds in the blood along with getting rid of waste and lubricating and cushioning joints. Drinking eight to 10 cups of water every day is the best, you can even add lemon juice to your water for a bit of flavour.
Throughout the day, incorporate fruits and vegetables that contain water into your diet as well. Try to avoid drinking sweetened drinks as they have a ridiculously high amount of sugar in them.
When you’re cooking and preparing food you’d need to limit the amount of salt and other high-sodium condiments such as soy sauce and fish sauce. Your daily salt intake should only be approximately one teaspoon.
You’ll also need to be wary of the snacks that you’re eating as most of them have plenty of salt and sugar. Opt for healthier snacks such as Eat Real’s Lentil Chips that have no added sugar, and have 40% less fat than standard potato crisps.
Eat Foods that are Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Growing research has suggested that omega-3 fatty acids may have a role in brain functioning. In a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, for instance, analysis of results indicated that people who consumed the most fish were less likely to have depression symptoms.
Some foods that you can add to your diet include wild Alaskan salmon, mackerel, walnuts, flax and chia seeds, canola oil and other fatty fish.
Incorporate Whole Grains in your Diet
Whole grains are a great source of Vitamin B and have nutrients that are vital for brain health. For example, Vitamin B5 helps in producing the neurotransmitter acetylcholine which is involved in learning and memory. Vitamin B12 is also involved in the production of serotonin and dopamine which all help in the regulation of mood.
Some foods that you can incorporate with whole grains in them include steel-cut oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, and wild rice. If you’re not sure what constitutes as whole grain, the rule of thumb is every 5 grams of carbohydrates should have at least 1 gram of dietary fiber.
Have a Nutritious Breakfast in the Morning
Research indicates that there’s a possible role in breakfast being a mood impactor. Choosing foods that are rich in fiber, nutrients and good fats are what you should be looking for in a healthy breakfast.
A good option is oatmeal as it has soluble fiber which is great at slowing the absorption of sugar into the blood. Steel-cut oatmeal is also another great alternative and you can pair it with fresh fruits, nuts, or yogurt. If you’ve got absolutely no time in the morning, opt for a snack bar instead. The Go Natural Almond, Apricot and Coconut snack bar is packed with nutrition and is also a great source of fiber and Vitamin E – the perfect snack to take with you on the go.
The Bottom Line: Boosting your Mood
Small dietary changes can make a significant impact on how you’re feeling over time. While research on linking food to our mood is still constantly evolving, many of these foods can keep you healthy and satiated.
If you have any particular conditions, however, it’s best to consult a healthcare professional. It’s also a good idea to check with your healthcare provider on consuming the above if you’re pregnant, nursing, or have any other concerns.