Which Foods Affect Which Moods?

Posted by Samantha Rentz on April 13th 2012
  • Although the precise cause-and-effect relationship between different foods and moods has yet to be fully understood, many people have found they can link eating (or not eating) certain foods with how they feel. The foods and drinks that most often cause problems are those containing alcohol, sugar, caffeine, chocolate, wheat (such as bread, biscuits, and cakes), dairy products (such as cheese), certain artificial additives (or E numbers) and hydrogenated fats. Other commonly eaten foods, such as yeast, corn, eggs, oranges, soya and tomatoes, may also cause symptoms for some people, sometimes.

Significant improvement to a wide range of mental health problems can result from making changes to what we eat. There have been reports of improvements in the following: mood swings, anxiety, panic attacks, cravings or food ‘addictions’, depression (including postnatal depression), irritable or aggressive feelings, concentration, memory difficulties, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), obsessive-compulsive feelings, eating disorders, psychotic episodes, insomnia, fatigue, behavioural and learning disorders, and seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

Which foods do I need to eat in order to feel well?

The most vital substance for a healthy mind and body is water. It’s easy to overlook drinking the recommended six to eight glasses, per day, which is a low-cost, convenient, self-help measure that can quickly change how we feel, mentally as well as physically. Having a minimum of five portions, daily, of fresh fruit and vegetables (organically grown, if possible) provides the nutrients needed to nourish mind and body (one portion equals about a handful).

It’s best not to skip breakfast, to keep regular meal times, and to choose foods that release energy slowly, such as oats and unrefined wholegrains. It’s also important to eat some protein foods, such as meat, fish, beans, eggs, cheese, nuts or seeds, every day. As well as providing nutrients, these eating strategies help smooth the negative effects of fluctuating blood sugar levels, which include irritability, poor concentration, fatigue, depression and food cravings. Essential fatty acids, particularly the omega-3 type found in oil-rich fish, such as mackerel and sardines, linseeds (flax), hemp seeds and their oils, are vital for the formation and healthy functioning of the brain. Other seeds and nuts, such as sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, brazil nuts and walnuts, also contain important ‘good mood’ nutrients.


One Response to “Which Foods Affect Which Moods?”

  1. May 30, 2012 at 6:41 pm, Luisa said:

    Since following sam’s programme that she has set out for me, I have had a dramatic change in energy. I no longer cut out meals but enjoy eating a healthy meal three times a day and snack on veg and fruit when i’m hungry. I don’t eat as much processed carb, and I certainly drink a lot more water, my skin feels better, I feel more energetic, ie I’m not climbing into bed at 8.30pm and passing out.
    The one thing i’ve started eating more of is fish and cutting out lots of red meat and my system feels great for it. I now have an addiction to tuna steaks, my fishman loves it, my wallet isn’t so keen!


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