When one is feeling down, turning to food to lift the mood is one of the best things. But high calorie and sugary food can have adverse effects on your body. People often wonder what food would be good in terms of lifting mood. What can they have when they feel down? In recent times lots of research has been happening over the relationship between mental health and nutrition.
The role of nutrition and diet on mental health is very complex. The mood can be influenced by many factors like nutritional deficiencies, mood disorders, genetics, poor sleep, environment, stress. According to researchers, many foods are associated with good mental health and help in preventing certain types of mood disorders. Unhealthy heating patterns can cause mood swings which are because of nutritional imbalance and blood sugar fluctuations. Researchers are also trying to analyze why diet may influence mental health. Many researchers are happing on the effects of diet on the gut microbiome, oxidative stress, and chronic inflammation.
The food choices one makes can affect one’s overall health, including their mental health and mood. Smarter food choices can help in preventing depression. For example, chocolate contains added sugar and less fiber, so the body burns through quickly. The blood glucose can crash in the body, leading to mood swings and lots of health problems in the long run. Many helpful bacteria are found in the gut that makes up the microbiome. So what one eats affects the heath in many ways. It helps in reducing chronic disease and reduces stress and anxiety.
It is also important to note that the way one makes food choices affects the mood the same way mood also affects how food choices are made. The current mood one is into will be mostly the deciding factor for what to eat. For example, if one is feeling stressed or tired, then one would prefer coffee or tea.
A diet that includes lots of fiber and reduces the intake of sugar and processed food can help to boost mood.
Food that helps in boosting mood –
Fatty Fish – Omega-3 fatty acids cannot be produced by the body and will have to obtain from food. Fatty fish like tuna and salmon are rich in two types of omega-3s eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acid. These two acids are linked with reducing depression. Omega 3 contributes to the fluidity of the brain’s cell membrane and plays a prominent role in cell signaling and brain development.
Fermented Food – It includes yogurt, kimchi, kombucha, kefir may improve mood and gut health. In the process of fermentation, live bacteria get inside the food that converts sugars into acids and alcohol. During the procedure, probiotics are formed and increase the serotine level, a neurotransmitter that affects human behavior such as stress response, mood, sexual drive, etc., 90% of the body’s serotine is produced in the gut.
Bananas – They are rich in vitamin B16, synthesize feel-good neurotransmitters like serotine and dopamine. Bananas help in reducing blood pressure levels which interns help in a better mood. If blood sugar levels are too low, then it leads to mood swings and irritability.
Oats – It is a kind of whole grain that can keep one in a good mood in the morning. They are a good source of fiber which is the slow digestion of carbs. Sugar levels are realized slowly in the blood, which keeps energy levels stable. A stable energy level helps to elevate mood.
Berries – Eating more veggies and fruits are linked with reducing depression. Berries are rich in antioxidants and phenolic compounds, which help in preventing oxidative stress. They are high in anthocyanins, and as per research anthocyanins, a rich diet reduces depression by 39%.
Nuts and Seeds – They provide tryptophan, an amino acid responsible for producing mood-boosting serotonin. Most of the nuts and seeds help in brain development.
Fruits – According to research, the more one consumes fruits, the less depressed one feels. Fruits rich in minerals, micronutrients, and vitamin are helps in improving mood.
Vegetables – Vegetables including high root fiber and leafy greens should be included in the diet. A higher intake of vegetables lowers the risk of depression. The variety of minerals, fiber, and vitamins in the veggies helps protect against depression and low mood.
Beans and Peas – According to research, beans, and peas help in managing depression. Both also help in keeping the gut healthy, and a healthy gut helps in mood-boosting.
Coffee – A cup of caffeinated coffee boosts mood. The caffeine in the coffee gives a feeling of instant energy. As per researchers, coffee can help in lowering depression.
Food that is associated with bad mood –
Processed Foods – Foods such as packaged snacks, fast-food meals, and candy bars can have added sugar, preservatives, and fats for flavor and longevity. The nutrition levels are very low for such foods. They also harm the gut microbiome, which in turn have a negative impact on mood as well.
Alcohol – It is fine in moderation, but if taken more, it is a central nervous system depressant and makes one feel more tired and increases depression. Drinking in large quantities can increase inflammation and oxidative stress in the gut and affect sleep patterns, and if sleep patterns are disturbed, mood can be affected.
Refined Grain Products – If the right kind of bread is chosen, it is suitable for health. The grains are made up of bran, the germ, and endosperm. Whole wheat bread has all these three parts, but refined grains have the only endosperm. If refined grains are consumed frequently, the body is deprived of nutrients and fiber needed for gut and brain health.
Sugar Juices – The bottle of fruit juices which one often relishes at home is loaded with extra sugar. The sugar will release into the bloodstream quickly, increasing the energy level but in the end will end at a low point, leaving one feeling depressed, irritable, and tired.
Salted Peanuts – Most peanuts bought from the store are high in sodium and often an MSG food additive. MSG is an artificial flavoring that consumed makes one feel depressed, exhausted, moody, weak, and have headaches.
Baked Foods – It contains a high quantity of saturated oils and refined sugars, and all these, when consumed, leads to lethargy, depression, and constant mood fluctuation.
Margarine – A high amount of processed saturated fats is there, which is different from healthy fats. The consumption of margarine cause blood pressure imbalance and leading to rapid mood swings.
French Fries – Most of the french fries consumed consist of refined carbs, high amounts of salt, and saturated fats, and these affect mood negatively. After consuming fries, instant energy can be increased but then ends with a drop, making one feel irritable and tired.
Canned Food – While buying canned food, one must check for BPA free because this chemical additive is linked to several chronic mood disorders. Buy the one that does not have this harmful chemical.
Dried fruit – It loses the water content in the dehydration process, so one easily overheat, which may increase the amount of sugar intake. All these increase blood sugar levels and disturb the gut, which negatively affects mood.