How does food affect your mood?
If we are what we eat, does this mean that diet might actually have a role to play in our mood?
Recently, several research studies indicated that, in some ways, diet may influence our mood. Here is how:
(1) Omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, tryptophan, folate and other B vitamins, low glycemic foods, and chocolate have all been studied to assess their impact on mood. The results are mixed but seem to show an association between these foods and improved mood;
(2) Eating breakfast regularly leads to improved mood, according to some researchers - along with better memory, more energy throughout the day, and feelings of calmness. It stands to reason that skipping breakfast would do the opposite, leading to fatigue and anxiety;
(3) The Mediterranean diet is a balanced, healthy eating pattern that includes plenty of fruits, nuts, vegetables, cereals, legumes, and fish --all of which are important sources of nutrients linked to preventing depression;
(4) Getting vitamin D increases levels of serotonin in the brain but researchers are unsure of the individual differences that determine how much vitamin D is ideal (based on where you live, time of year, skin type, level of sun exposure);
(5) In people with sensitivity, caffeine may exacerbate depression. (And if caffeine keeps you awake at night, this could certainly affect your mood the next day.) Those at risk could try limiting or eliminating caffeine for a month or so to see if it improves mood.
In addition, try to analyze which are the healthy foods that make you feel better. Simply knowing you are pampering yourself with good food can boost your mood....