Warning! These 3 foods will ruin your mood!!
We’ve all been there, it’s 3:00 in the afternoon and you’re feeling a bit tired, and truth be told, somewhat bored so you head on into the kitchen for a change of scenery and maybe a bit of a pick-me-up. That’s when things go south, and a casual stroll through the kitchen becomes a 2000 calorie nosh-fest. Instinctively when we need a mood boost, we head for some kind of food or beverage.
This isn’t just clever marketing training you to think food equals happy, it’s also biology. Certain types of food promote the feel-good hormones that wash over you and give you that warm fuzzy buzz. Typically you think of sweets and other carb based goodies, and while these foods can certainly give you happy feelings what you’re feeling there is a combination of feel good memories and the energy of a sugar rush in addition to those happy hormones. It’s why you reach for the cookie instead of the nuts.
If you take the time to practice the awareness that comes with mindful eating you will notice that those sugary treats aren’t the only foods that lead to good will, and you may even realize that certain foods actually help you feel better without the crash 20-minutes later.
So which foods are going to give you a boost without the crash? Everyone has their own variations on what will work here, but if you want to start at the beginning try working some of these foods into your mindful eating plan…
Good mood foods
We are looking at foods that promote serotonin (the happy hormone), and by regularly including these foods into your meal plan you will see a noticeable improvement in your moods. The top 3 nutrients to boost your mood are:
Magnesium- found in foods such as nuts, seeds, spinach, chocolate, and avocado
Tryptophan- try to work in eggs, fish, whole grains, dairy, even bananas
Omega 3’s- mainly come from fish, flax seeds, and soybeans
Mood boosting foods first
Taking a supplement may help if your diet is lacking in any of these nutrients, but trying to get whole food sources is a better way to go. Vitamins and minerals are more effective when they are eaten instead of swallowed as a pill, so if possible, try to eat a diet that has a wide range of variety. Begin with brightly colored fruits and veggies. Focus on avocado, spinach, and winter squash which are chock full of mood boosting nutrition if you need someplace to start. Try to work 2-3 different fruits and veggies into your day every day and mix it up week to week.
Once you have those veggies worked in you can focus on nuts, seeds, and fish as excellent sources of omega’s which are known to be associated with better moods and reduced depression. You don’t need to go crazy either, just a handful of nuts each day or fish 1-2 times a week will do the job. Fish not on your menu? You can take a supplement or choose foods fortified with omega 3’s like eggs. Bonus, nuts and seeds are great magnesium sources too!
Make sure that you are getting in your lean meat and poultry too- turkey is very well known for its tryptophan induced sleepiness. Not into animal protein? Incorporate some plant proteins like beans and whole grains to make you happy. Aim for some kind of protein at ever meal for that blood sugar control that can send you into a downward spiral of eating to stay energized. If you like dairy, yogurt and low-fat dairy are good sources of tryptophan too, so enjoy 1-3 servings a day and support your vitamin D and calcium levels in the process.
Foods that ruin your mood
As much as eating a healthy diet will improve your mood, eating a diet loaded with crap will only bring you down. Overly processed, nutrient deficient junk food is not only causing your waistline to expand but it has little nutritive value. Too many treats can really bring you down, and if those treats are tacked onto a poor diet in general you may find yourself on a sugar-high chasing roller coaster.
Keep reading to learn the kinds of foods that are ruining your good mood…
These 3 foods should be on your “eat less often” list:
Processed pastries & treats- high sugar and saturated fat foods not only wreak havoc on your blood sugar, but they also cause inflammation. More and more research is linking inflammation to depression as well as other chronic conditions.
Fried foods – while the occasional french fry isn’t a problem, keep these crunchy treats to an occasional indulgence and try grilling, steaming, or baking your food to retain more nutrients and taste.
Deli and processed meats- it’s tempting to indulge in some deli turkey to save some time while you get some tryptophan, but deli meats usually have high sodium content (hello bloating) and nitrates which when coming from lunch meat have been linked to cancer. Skip the deli meat and go for roasted turkey in your snack box and you’ll appreciate the flavor.
Eating a diet that has a lot of variety in whole foods can help reduce mood swings, but if you have worked on your diet and still feel blue, or find that your mood swings are impacting your daily life in a negative way then you should talk with your doctor. Changes in moods during perimenopause and menopause are common, but that doesn’t mean that you have to suffer in silence. Lifestyle changes are a good first line of defense for many conditions- like mood swings, but should be part of a total wellness plan.
Want to get a head start on your good mood meal plan? Check out my Good Mood Meal Plan.