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You’ve probably noticed that the food you eat can affect how you feel. So what’s that relationship between food and mood all about?
Let’s begin at the very beginning. As modern-day humans, we are under huge stress. We’re working hard, taking care of our families, and generally trying to stay sane amid all our responsibilities. Our mental health suffers as the pressure mounts. Unsurprisingly, many of us have become anxious and/or depressed.
You are not alone if you recognize yourself in this. Now, healthy eating is unlikely to fix all your problems, but it has the potential to make you feel better. Then you’ll be more equipped to tackle life’s challenges! So, let’s talk about the link between food and mood and how to choose foods to benefit your mental health.
Food and Mood – Clinical Trial
In 2017, the first significant experiment on the connection between food and mood was released. A total of 67 people, all of which were diagnosed with clinical depression, were divided into two groups. A dietician was assigned to the first group. He showed them how to eat more healthily. The control group, in contrast, was given social assistance but no nutritional guidance.
The average depression score improved after 12 weeks. The first group made the most progress. Around 33% of people were no longer considered depressed. However, only 8% of the second group succeeded.
Choosing Foods That Boost Your Wellbeing
Not sure what to eat? You are unquestionably not alone. Eating the right foods can help with:
- general mental health
- improving your mood
- boosting energy levels
- mental clarity
We’ll go through different types of food and offer some essential healthy eating advice. That should help you better understand the food-mood connection.
Carbs are commonly referred to as “brain food.” They provide your brain with sufficient energy. It’s possible that a lack of energy in your brain is causing you to feel weak, weary, and unable to think effectively. So, make sure to consume them on a regular basis.
You’ll find healthy carbs in the following foods:
- whole-wheat pasta
- brown or wild rice
- lower-fat dairy
Your brain needs amino acids in addition to carbohydrates. They assist your brain in regulating thoughts and emotions. They’re found in proteins, which you’ll best get from:
- lean meat
- nuts and seeds
- soy products
It’s not that fats are bad. The problem is just in saturated and trans fats. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are incredibly beneficial for us. They are necessary for the proper functioning of the brain. You’ll get your healthy fats from the following foods:
- oily fish
- dairy products
Vitamins and minerals
Vitamins and minerals are essential, and their deficits are dangerous for both your physical and mental health. Pay special attention to the following four vitamins and minerals.
- Iron: An iron deficiency will make you feel lethargic and weak. So, make sure to consume these iron-rich foods:
- red meat
- fortified cereals
- B vitamins (B1, B3, and B12): You may feel down, weary, or irritable as a result of a B-vitamin deficiency. They can be found in animal protein sources such as:
- fortified cereals
- Folate: If you don’t get enough folate, you’re at higher risk of depression. Get it from:
- green vegetables
- citrus fruits
- fortified foods like marmite
- Selenium: Being low on this mineral will lead to feelings of depression and generally poor mental wellbeing. To prevent that, eat plenty of:
- brazil nuts
- wholemeal bread
How regularly you eat is also crucial to your wellbeing. Blood glucose levels get disrupted when you eat irregularly. Rapid increases and dips in blood sugar will affect your mood, making you irritated, sad, and even causing anxiety symptoms.
The key is to eat regular meals to maintain steady blood glucose levels throughout the day. Consume small amounts of slow-releasing energy foods such as:
Drinks and Mood
What you drink can also have a negative impact on your mood. Here are two suggestions for you:
- Keep yourself hydrated: Your mood, energy levels, and ability to concentrate highly depend on your water intake. Sparkling water or a healthy energy drink are also options. Avoid soda, sugary tea, and alcoholic beverages.
- Limit your caffeine intake: Too much caffeine will make you jumpy, irritable, or anxious. Plus, it can definitely disrupt your sleep. It’s in coffee, tea, and energy beverages.
Over to You
You now understand how food can assist you. It’s up to you to put this advice into practice. Keep in mind that everything takes time, and be patient. You’ve got this!