It is a known fact that food (and drink) can alter your mood, such as a ‘relaxing’ glass of wine after a busy day or a bar of chocolate to boost energy levels.
There are many factors involved, but here are a couple of reasons why this happens:
1. Our association and thoughts about food, which can be negative as well as positive. Often people have feelings of guilt if they stray from a restricted diet or healthy eating plan for example. Wine and chocolate can be seen as ‘rewards’. These are a more negative approach …
On the other hand, seeing food as nourishment for the body can be incredibly positive and also lead to more informed food choices.
For example, for a direct calorie comparison – a slice of melon, a few strawberries and a few almonds will provide your body with vitamins, minerals, fibre, healthy fats and water. A bought cookie will provide your body with fats which are (usually processed) including trans fatty acids, refined sugar and several ingredients that you may never have heard of. Being mindful of this knowledge can influence your decision and make the healthier choice more attractive.
2. Hormones. If you look at the body as a whole, our hormonal pathways do not work alone, they are affected by many different factors such as sleep, nutrition and stress. They in turn affect other biological functions within the body and the brain.
Just considering one area – such as energy can be hugely beneficial to our mood. Here are 6 points to improve energy levels:
- Maintain good hydration – avoid caffeine, processed drinks and alcohol
- Eat healthy fats daily – oily fish, olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds
- Increase vegetable consumption to six or seven portions a day
- Reduce refined carbohydrates and choose ‘one ingredient’ foods such as a piece of fruit, potato, butternut squash or rice
- Eliminate trans fatty acids – fried food, cakes and pastries
- Quality sleep