7 tips on how food can improve your mood
Here is some good nutritionnist tips on how food can improve your mood.
Limit your consumption of processed foods
A varied diet containing healthy fats and virtually no processed foods, such as the Mediterranean diet, may contribute to reducing the symptoms of depression. This diet consists of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish, and olive, nut and seed oils. Moreover, the Mediterranean diet contains very little red meat and processed foods. In comparison, a diet rich in processed foods would have a negative effect on your mood. In addition, certain components of processed foods, such as dietary emulsifiers, will directly alter human microbiota composition, whereas, a healthy diet, high in fiber and polyphenols, seems to have a beneficial effect on intenstinal microbiota.
Consume « fatty fish » 2 to 3 times a week
Because a diet high in omega-3s would be beneficial to people suffering from depression, consuming 2 to 3 fatty-fish meals per week could help reduce the symptoms. All omega-3s are beneficial to our overall health. Sources of vegetarian fatty acids such as ground flaxseed, chia seeds, soya and walnuts should also be integrated into your daily diet.
Consume the recommended amounts of complex or unrefined carbohydrates
Proper brain fonction requires a constant supply of carbohydrates as it keeps none in reserve. You should therefore favor foods that are rich in complex carbohydrates on a daily basis, foods such as whole grain cereal products, as they are high in dietary fiber. Because complex or unrefined carbs take longer to digest than simple or refined carbs, your hunger will be suppressed for a longer period of time. You will avoid that dip in your energy level that causes irritability, fatigue, lethargy, etc… Sweet potatoes, fruits and legumes are also good sources of complex carbohydrates.
Maintain sufficient levels of vitamin D
More and more studies suggest that there is a correlation between depression and levels of vitamin D in the blood. The sun is the main source of vitamin D, but our geographical latitude does not allow our bodies to produce it between October and March. We must then consume foods which are rich in vitamin D : fatty fish, egg yolk, vitamin D enriched foods such as milk or vitamin enriched vegetable drinks. Quite often though, it is difficult to consume sufficient amounts and a supplement may become relevant.
Dont’ skip meals and stay hydrated
Skipping meals or eating too little will lower the glucose levels in your blood and may cause irritabilty, mood swings and a drop in energy levels. Therefore, when your blood sugar drops, your mood often experiences the same fate. Many studies have shown that eating a breakfast rich in protein and fiber helps improve your mood. So, it may be best to eat every three hours and to consume a combination of both complex carbs and proteins each time.
Finally, it has been shown that even a slight level of dehydration has a negative impact on your mood. It is best to drink fluids, preferably pure water, all day long in order to stay hydrated and keep your mood stable.
Savour your food
Think about the food and how you are ingesting it. Taking the time to appreciate and savour real meals and eating in good company as often as possible will make you appreciate life in general. Eating should be a pleasure, a time to relax, a moment for yourself. If we eat while distracted, we are not focusing on the pleasure of eating and we are certainly not paying attention to hunger or satiety signals our brain is sending us. What’s more, when we eat too quickly, our anxiety level spikes.
Limit caffeine and alcohol intake
Coffee, tea, certain soft drinks, like Pepsi and Coke and energy drinks all contain caffeine. Taken in excess, they can increase stress and anxiety levels as well as cause dehydration. In the case of alcohol, it not only causes dehydration and makes an individual more susceptible to stress and mood swings, it also affects one’s sleep quality.