Can foods affect your mood? The simple answer is yes. Few things affect our state of mind, aka our mood, as profoundly as food. Women being propelled by some mysterious hormonal force to eat chocolate during PMS is one good example. There’s just something in that chocolate that makes them feel so good!
If you are wondering why or how foods affect your mood, keep reading. Some of these may surprise you.
Physiological Mood Swings
Aside from the emotional ties around food, such as associating it with celebration or entertainment, there is also the physiological side that affects our mood. Everyone loves a good pizza to celebrate the Superbowl or hotdogs when the World Series rolls around. Think about how those foods make you feel. You may feel energized at first but soon after, you’ll crash. Think about eating turkey at Thanksgiving. After you eat the turkey and stuffing you’re not good for anything else but a good nap. And we’ve all seen children throwing fits in the cereal aisle or at the checkout stand where all the sweets have been placed for impulse buying. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never seen such outbursts in the broccoli aisle.
Having a coca cola or a candy bar may seem like a good idea when you’re in the middle of enjoying that food or drink. You are going to get what is referred to as a “sugar rush” but then a little while after that “high” you’re going to come crashing down and you’re mood will not be the same.
Moody Food Blues
People crave comfort foods almost instinctively, which are high in carbohydrates. The body immediately converts these foods to sugar in the bloodstream upon consumption. Consuming processed and refined foods which contain exorbitant amounts of sugar and artificial ingredients and practically no dietary fiber launches the eater into a blood sugar nightmare.
Even cooked starches that some consider healthy such as potatoes, rice and pasta are converted into simple sugars quickly in the body. This gives an immediate burst of false energy and a short-lived sense of well-being, followed by a nasty letdown and what some call ‘self-induced hypoglycemia.’
In order to feel better after the letdown phase, which can make people feel exhausted, cranky and unable to focus, the body compels one to simply eat more of the substance that gave it that happy rush in the first place. Now you see how people get set up for addictions. Ever tried to be in a good mood, feel jubilant about life or get lots of work done when you are in the throes of caffeine withdrawal?
The main function of most anti-depressants on the market is to enhance the uptake of that famous ‘feel-good hormone’ serotonin. When this brain chemical is low, people crave carbohydrates and comfort foods in order to get it.
How to Change the Moody Food Blues
There are many ways to combat the “moody food blues.” One way is to eat a raw vegan diet. Raw foods are helpful in maintaining stable moods due to the fact there are no toxins, addictive substances or artificial ingredients in living foods. Moreover, raw foods are loaded with fiber to keep the intestinal tract and colon in tip-top-shape as well as clean.
If the colon is overloaded with waste, this waste is recirculated into the bloodstream again and again. How peaceful and blissful do you think you can feel with your body’s own waste nourishing your brain? Or if you feel bloated or worse? Consumption of foods that are high in fiber and natural sugars also eliminates the wild blood sugar swings which are notorious for ultimately depleting our serotonin supplies.
On a raw food diet, your brain becomes cleansed and nourished on a cellular level, your senses sharpen and you will begin to see the sun come out in your life once again. If you don’t wish to convert to a totally vegan diet, there are others you can try.
You may decide you don’t wish to become a vegan, but you’d like to concentrate on getting more superfoods in your diet with more fruits and vegetables paired with lean proteins. Fruits and veggies can be used in smoothies or paired with yogurt to help you get more nutritious snacks to keep your blood sugar level. This will help the moods swings.
Many people are different and feel they need more protein. You can try a diet rich in proteins, vitamin A, calcium and other important nutrients your body needs. Focus on lean meats and fish prepared with a little olive oil and some fresh herbs. Make sure to eat plenty of vegetables too. Getting a balanced diet can help your moods.
If you learn how to nourish the brain properly, you need not suffer from nutrient or serotonin deficiencies and consequently avoid the addictions that keep you bound to the constant highs and lows. By eating healthier, more balanced meals and nutritious snacks you can stop the moody roller coaster and have a sunnier disposition. See also the “Tips for Cutting Out Processed Foods“ for more ways to help you eat healthier and improve your moods.
I hope you liked this “Health-e-Byte.” Please feel free to leave a comment if you liked this article and let me know what you liked about it.
To your health!