Your Mood and Food

Knowing what foods we should and shouldn’t be eating can be confusing. What we eat not only effects our physical health, but but has also been shown to also affect the way we feel. By paying attention to what we eat we can actively take steps to increasing our energy levels, alter our mood and thinking more clearly. 

 

Irregular eating habits result in our blood sugar dropping and this can result in us feeling tired, irritable and depressed. Regular eating and choosing foods that release energy slowly help to keep our sugar levels steady. Make sure to eat breakfast and eat slow-release energy foods (e.g. rice, pasta, oats, wholegrain bread, nuts and seeds) throughout the day to keep your blood sugar levels steady. Things like sweets, biscuits, sugary drinks, and alcohol cause your blood sugar to rise and fall rapidly and should be consumed in moderation. 

 

Staying hydrated is also very important. Every cell, tissue, and organ in our body requires water to function optimally. Drinking water is most often the best and cheapest way to stay hydrated. If you don’t drink enough fluids, you may find it difficult to concentrate or think clearly. It’s recommended that we drink between 6–8 glasses of fluid a day. Tea, coffee, juices and smoothies all count towards your intake but be aware that these may also contain caffeine or sugar which can also impact on your mood.

Eating a variety of different coloured fruits and vegetables every day means you’ll get a good range of nutrients which we need to keep us physically and mentally fit. Cut back on processed food, which is full of sugar and salt and has limited nutritional value.  

 

Our gut can reflect how we are feeling emotionally and it can be impacted by stress, causing it to speed up or slow down.  To support it to work optimally, eat plenty of fiber, drink plenty of fluids and take regular exercise. Actively destressing using relaxation techniques or breathing exercises will also benefit your gut.

 

Other things you can do include, making sure you are getting enough protein and healthy fats (such as omega-3 and -6), which support brain function. In addiction to this managing your caffeine can help. Caffeine (in tea, coffee, cola) is a stimulant, which means it will give you a quick burst of energy, but then it may make you feel anxious and depressed. Caffeine can also disturb your sleep (especially if you have it before bed), or give you withdrawal symptoms if you stop suddenly. You might feel noticeably better quite quickly if you drink less caffeine or avoid it altogether.
 

Disclaimer

This resource is provided for general information only. It is not intended to, and does not, amount to advice, but intended to illustrate the importance of eating a balanced and nutritious diet. It is not intended as specific advice.  Use the following links to explore the topic further and obtain relevant up to date professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action based on the information in this resource.

https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/the-eatwell-guide/

https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/tips-for-everyday-living/food-and-mood/about-food-and-mood/

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/sites/default/files/FeedingMinds_exec_summary.pdf

https://www.bda.uk.com/food-health/food-facts/adult-food-facts.html

https://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/mental-health/problems-disorders/eating-well-and-mental-health

© 2020 by Theresa Cawley