Food and mood connection
Different foods and their particular nutrients can have an effect on how our brain processes signals related to mood, hunger, sleep and stress, What we eat (or don’t eat) can make a huge difference when it comes to how we feel, both short term and over time. For example:
- Depression is linked to a lack of B vitamins, such as B6, folic acid, and B12.
- Depleted amounts of magnesium, calcium, zinc, and selenium can contribute to mood disorders.
- We need B vitamins to effectively convert calories into energy for the cells.
- Carbohydrates, especially whole grains rich in B vitamins, promote the production of feel-good hormones such as serotonin.
- Calcium helps to counteract lactic acids produced by tense muscles, which often feels like an aching, tired sensation in the body.
7 Food That Boost Energy And Lift Mood
Eating sugar unleashes harmful free radicals linked to disease—even cancer—inside of your body. Honey—although sweet like sugar—is packed with beneficial compounds such as quercetin and kaempferol that actually help clean up the free radicals and reduce inflammation. “Honey helps reduce inflammation, which is very important to maintaining a healthy brain,” Dr. Ramsey explains. “Some depression actually stems from chronic, low-grade inflammation.”
This dairy pick is packed with more calcium than you’ll find in milk or regular yogurt, and it can make you happy, too. Proper calcium levels give the “Go” command, alerting your body to release feel-good neurotransmitters. “Disturbances in calcium levels can produce anxiety, depression, irritability, impaired memory, and slow thinking.
Tea is emotionally soothing for many people in and of itself, but green tea contains L-theanine, an amino acid some say improves mood while reducing stress.
Carbohydrates are the enemy for many individuals. Nevertheless, carbohydrates are important for boosting energy and mood. They are the body’s ideal source of energy, and they raise levels of serotonin, a brain chemical responsible for making you feel good. However, the main issue is to choose smart. The key is to avoid refined carbohydrates (such as white rice, white bread and pasta, and sweets) which cause a rise in blood sugar, making you feel exhausted and irritable. Opt for whole grains like whole-wheat bread, brown rice, and cereals. Your body absorbs whole grains more slowly, keeping your blood sugar and energy levels steady.
Caffeine helps you feel energized and alert. Found in coffee, tea, chocolate, sodas, energy drinks, and some medications, caffeine gives you that instantly recognizable wake-up feeling though the effects are short term lived. However, drinking too much caffeinated beverages can make you nervous and uncomfortable. Three to four cups of coffee a day are considered safe. Keep in mind that you need to drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.
Foods high in fiber take a longer time to digest, providing you with a slower and stable supply of energy throughout the day. Fiber rich foods include beans, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Great news for chocoholics! Studies have shown that a small amount of dark chocolate can improve cognitive function and enhance your mood due to several chemical compounds found in it. Chocolate contains phenylethylamine (PEA), the same chemical your brain produces when you are in love. PEA also encourages your brain to release endorphins, making you feel joyful. Chocolate contains “theobromine”, a natural stimulant & molecular cousin of caffeine.