Believe it or not food can have a huge impact on your mood. If you are wondering how than let’s get the boring scientific stuff out of the way. In fact, let’s just pop it into a picture.
Source: Minati Singh.Mood, food, and obesity.Front Psychol. 2014; 5: 925
So yes, there is a scientific reason that we crave certain foods when we are feeling low. Commonly referred to as comfort foods, we usually end up consuming these when we are feeling down; you know the ones I am talking about, chocolate, chips and maybe a cheeky glass of wine or beer. These unfortunately only have a very short term buzz on moods and sadly they actually contribute to permanent bad moods and depression as over consumption of unhealthy foods can lead to obesity and depression.
So what if we could reverse this and consume foods that make us feel good, so it would eliminatethe sudden desire to reach for the block of chocolate. What if these foods made us feel so good all the time, we kind of stopped wanting the other unhealthy foods? It is possible!
Vitamin B is an absolute champion at making us feel good and this mood busting vitamin is not too hard to find. Beef, fish, crab, tofu, fortified cereals, eggs, cheese, legumes, green leafy vegetables, soy milk and skim milk are all fabulous sources of vitamin B.
For the seafood lovers, you will be happy to know that essential fatty acidsare another food group that helps us to feel good. Salmon, trout, mackerel and sardines are great choices. For the non-seafood lovers, walnuts, chia seeds, flax seeds and eggs are all great choices.
Selenium is another awesome good mood creator, you may have not heard of selenium. It basically acts like an antioxidant in the body. This little warrior can be found in whole grains, in particular whole grain breads, brown rice and oatmeal. Seeds, nuts, lean meat, low fat dairy and seafood are also great options.
There are the obvious superstars, fruit and vegies. They are superstars for a reason, full of vitamins and antioxidants, these superheros are a must on any feel good menu.
And to the one you have all been waiting for, dark chocolate! In small amounts, dark chocolate can have a mood improving impact. Be sure to grab a few squares and then return the block to the fridge, I repeat return the block to the fridge. In small doses dark chocolate is great at helping you feel good.
Now, just to make you feel extra cheerful, make sure you are drinking plenty of water and although you may not feel like it in the middle of a horrendous mood, a nice walk in the fresh air can make you feel amazing, much more amazing than a carton of hot chips. I promise!
So next time, you are feeling down, chow down on these foods, they will not only help improve your mood, but will help you to lead a happier, healthier lifestyle.
About the Author Michelle Nolland is our Recreation Programs Manager at the YMCA NSW. Michelle has a Bachelor of Exercise Science and Graduate Diploma of Human Nutrition. Back to blog