A bad mood can easily ruin your day. Improved general health usually means a better mood but how can the type of food we eat affect our mood?
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Have you ever woken up on the wrong side of the bed, and instantly felt your day was ruined before it even began? Your mood and emotions can affect almost every aspect of your life, including your productivity. The great feeling of seizing the day and living life to the fullest can sometimes be held hostage by your mood and mental health state.
Your mood can be affected by a myriad of factors, but did you know that nutrition plays a crucial role in affecting your mood? In recent years, there has been increasing evidence that nutrition can actually affect mental health. Here are some ways the food we eat can actually affect our mood.
Always trust your gut
Ever had that gut feeling about someone or something? Science might not be able to explain that, but studies have shown that a two-way communication channel exists between your gut and brain. And that channel plays a crucial role in regulating your mood! A fun fact, 90% of serotonin, the chemical that stabilizes your mood and happiness, also coined as "the happiness hormone" is produced in the digestive tract. A happy meal may have some scientific backing after all!
Is that burger affecting your mood?
Gut bacteria have also been found to produce neurotransmitters such as dopamine and many others related to anxiety, concentration and even motivation. It would only make sense if we ate foods that help these gut bacteria flourish! Foods containing probiotics can improve your mood and brain function by encouraging a healthy gut environment.
While whole foods, fermented foods and vegetables can boost your gut health, eating large amounts of processed foods that contain additives, sugar and lack of fibre may disturb your gut bacteria.
Can food help with menstrual cycle mood swings?
We can all agree that your menstrual cycle can easily claim the title of the biggest mood breaker. Before your period begins, it's perfectly normal to have mood swings, feel sad, angry or simply irritated. Next thing you know, the cramps come knocking and all of a sudden, you're too overwhelmed. But how can food help in this dire situation?
One study suggests that calcium supplements can actually reduce PMS-related (premenstrual syndrome) mood changes and negative feelings. Another reason for mood swings that can be treated is iron-deficiency anemia which can be caused by heavy periods. Fish oils, egg yolks and exposure to sunlight can reduce irregular periods associated with low vitamin D levels.
You are what you eat
After all, we really are what we eat. Eating foods that promote brain and gut health can help keep chemical balances in check and improve your overall mood. Sugary foods can take you on a mood rollercoaster. You get a momentary mood spike but before you get to appreciate that milkshake, you're hit with a sugar crash which can easily bring you down.
However, when it comes to using food to treat mood changes, you have to realize that as much as nutrition is a key factor to your mood, it isn't the only one. Other mood drivers include your external environment and mental state. These factors are all important and must not be neglected. If you feel depressed or have any suicidal thoughts then make sure you get help.
Finding your happy diet can really go a long way! You'd be surprised how eating the right food can boost your mood.