It’s widely known that your mood can trigger food cravings, cause you to overeat or kill your appetite entirely. But the opposite also holds true in that the food you eat can make or break your mood.
The importance of your food choices cannot be overstated when it comes to your mental health. In a very real sense, you have TWO brains—one in your head, and one in your gut.
Most of us are unfamiliar with the connection between health and nutrition and our mood, but what you eat can influence your brain chemistry and subsequently affect your mood. Eating healthy can drastically improve the way you feel.
Whenever a bad day steers you toward a vending machine or drive-through window, the chances of that food improving your day are slim. Research increasingly shows a link between the foods we eat and our moods—and the right foods can make all of your meals happy ones.
How can food affect how you feel?
The old saying “we are what we eat” really does ring true for most people. When they eat well, meaning a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein choices, it tends to help them to feel better in the long run. Your body feels better when it’s being fueled better. When we eat things that are rich in high fats like our comfort foods and comfort snacks, we tend to feel more sluggish. Avoiding white pasta, bread, flours, and other simple carbohydrates is important for a good mood. These foods cause your blood sugar to rise and fall quickly, causing a brief period of high-energy, followed by a “crash” that can leave you feeling cranky.
How can “when” we eat affect our energy or mood throughout the day?
A lot of times people eat too often within the day which makes you more tired because you’re digesting food more often. Also sometimes people won’t eat enough throughout the day. They will eat in the morning then eat nothing at night. Also, when people eat heavy meals instead of small, frequent meals, then you tend to be more sluggish as well.
So, when you eat and how you feel after you eat can directly affect your mood. I think that’s why most of us gravitate toward your “comfort foods,” whatever that may be, when feeling lousy or sad. When we eat them, we feel better. There’s the same connection to how often we eat. If you don’t eat often enough and your body’s not fueled right then you can become “hangry,” a combination of hungry and angry. People actually do become irritable and angry when they are hungry. If you get in a regular routine of trying to eat every three or four hours, then your body works better. Our bodies like to work like well-oiled machines.
Why is it recommended that people eat every three to four hours for best health and best mood?
It’s important for keeping our metabolism up. It keeps you blood sugar stable. It keeps your food coming in small, frequent amounts. Whenever you overload your body with calories all at one time, you feel sluggish. Whenever we eat too little at a time, it can slow your body down. It’s important to eat small, frequent meals in the day. In general, it’s best to have five to six meals in a day for most people depending on how long they’re awake.
The bottom line is to eat a balanced, healthy diet incorporating all five of the food groups. It’s also important to make sure we are eating often enough to give our bodies the chance to function properly, especially important in our golden years.
So, what have you changed in your diet to control your moods? Let us know…share your thoughts with this community.
As Always, I am…the Boomer Explorer.