Though science hasn’t yet found a food that instantly elevates mood or cures depression, there are definitely some bites you can choose on a daily basis to improve your overall long-term mood. The basic principle behind using food to help with your mood is that eating certain foods can alter brain structure, aiding in brain function for a happy and healthy mind. If you’re hoping to improve your mood with your food, read on and know that even if you don’t feel immediate effects, these tips will contribute to leading a healthier life in general.
Eliminate Mood-Diminishing Foods
Before even beginning to incorporate foods that help boost your mood, stop eating ones that can be harmful to both your mind and body. Refined carbohydrates and sugars can have detrimental effects on mood, as they spike your blood sugar and then quickly lower your levels giving you a sugar high and crash. When you’re crashing, you’ll likely feel tired and cranky. High quantities of caffeine have similar lifting and crashing effects, so skipping your morning brew is a good idea as well. Don’t forget about alcohol. It disturbs sleep leaving you tired and feeling low on a morning after or even for days after a big drinking binge. Alcohol is also a proven depressant and can leave you feeling sad while drinking and after.
Eat When You’re Hungry
People have been fooled by the diet industry to restrict calories in order to lose weight. Though this can work it often leads to long-term fat storage in your body and food binges during periods of intense hunger. The media has recently coined the term “hangry” to define the mood we assimilate when we’re hungry. We become irritable and grumpy when our tummies are rumbling. Instead of skipping meals or eating meagre amounts of food throughout the day, consume high amounts of vegetables and a moderate amount of fruit at any time throughout the day to keep hunger pains away. Make sure your 3-5 meals per day are balanced with plenty of carbohydrates, proteins and healthy fats, and that you reach for carrot sticks instead of chips when you feel peckish.
Get Your Greens and Whole Grains
Dark, leafy greens are nothing but beneficial to your system. They are full of many of the vitamins and minerals we need to feel awake and to keep us chipper. Containing Vitamins C and K, folate, fibre, iron and calcium, eating leafy greens like kale and Swiss chard will benefit many of your bodily systems. Vitamin K is known for its anti-aging properties, Vitamin C and iron give us a punch of energy and fibre can slow the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, resulting in longer and more peaceful sleeping patterns. You’ll also find fibre in whole grains like brown rice and oats.
Up Your Vitamin B12 Intake
Vitamin B12 is vital for the nervous and immune systems, yet is one of the most common deficiencies in humans since many foods don’t contain it. Meat and animal products do contain B12 but oftentimes even eating these foods will not adequately maintain healthy B12 levels in adults. Talk to your doctor about your B12 levels and whether or not it’s recommended you take a supplement. Having normal B12 levels will help you feel energized and to get a deeper, more fulfilling sleep. It also positively affects brain function and mood.