Do you constantly find yourself moody, angry, or tired? Your diet could be the problem. The brain and stomach are interconnected. What you feed fuels your brain so, you need to give off the right energy. Further, at least 90% of serotonin (a neurotransmitter that helps in sleep regulation, appetite, and impulse control. Increased levels are linked to mood elevation) is produced in the gut. This shows a correlation between what we eat and our mood.
Feeding habits that may negatively affect our moods
- Skipping meals
- A popular diet fad believed to result in weight loss. This can result in low energy and fatigue. Additionally, fluctuations in blood sugar levels significantly contribute to mood swings
- Eating too many refined carbohydrates
- Simple carbohydrates result in sugar spikes because of the rapid breakdown. The individual is hyperactive at this point. However, this feeling is unsustainable as one tends to be sluggish when the energy wears off
- Restricting the major food groups
- A study by Ottley, C. found that diets that were low in carbohydrates increased feelings of anger, depression, and stress, while diets high in protein and low in carbohydrates increased anger
- Diet restrictions that contribute to missing out on several micronutrients
- Low levels of Zinc, Iron, Folate, B Vitamins, Magnesium, Vitamin D, and Omega 3 are associated with worsening mood and decreased energy which can cause depression, poor concentration, and chronic fatigue
- Dieting Culture
- People accustomed to dieting are often afraid of gaining weight. Therefore, when presented with high-calorie foods, they might experience anxiety and other negative emotions
- Hydrating inadequately
- Insufficient water intake can contribute to fatigue and dampened moods
The relationship between the food we eat and our moods is interrelated. Our foods will affect our state of mind, in turn interfering with our food choices. Anger increases comfort and impulsive eating, joy increases eating for pleasure, and sadness compels us to eat less healthy comfort foods. Therefore, having a good relationship with food is key in managing our moods.
Ways to improve your mood through food
- Increase intake of fruits and vegetable
- Start your day with a good breakfast meal. Regular eating leads to improved mood, better memory, more energy, and calmness
- Hydrate adequately
- Consume probiotic-rich foods such as yogurt, kombucha, and fermented porridge
- Include feel-good foods such as beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, dark green vegetables, and oily fish
- Opt for whole-grain products which will release sugar moderately hence sustaining you throughout the day
- Enjoy a healthy, balanced diet that can reduce the risk of inflammation, thereby protecting one against depression
A steady diet of junk food can result in inflammation which may hamper the production of serotonin. However, healthy food promotes the growth of good bacteria that positively affects neurotransmitter production. A good state of serotonin production sends positive messages to your brain, and your emotions reflect it.
Remember, you are a product of what you eat!