It’s true – you are what you eat. It’s not just your physical health, but your mental health too, that can be affected when ‘treating’ yourself to junk food.
Reaching for a high-sugar or simple carbohydrate (white bread or pasta) snack can lead to spikes and dips in blood sugar levels – leaving you fatigued and moody.
Our emotions, mood and behavior can be directly linked to the food we eat, according to the International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research.
Here are 5 mood-boosting nutrients:
These vitamins support brain functioning, boost the immune system and provide you with healthy skin. A 2009 study published by The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry indicates diets low in B vitamins may be linked to depression.
Food containing B Vitamins: eggs, beef, cheese and salmon.
Vegetarian options: spinach, bananas, avocado and vegemite.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
An essential fatty acid, this controls levels of fat in the blood, decreases inflammation and is important for heart health. Researchers from the Qingdao University have shown a correlation between high fish consumption and decreased risk of depression. Deficiency symptoms include mood swings, declined memory and fatigue.
Food containing Omega-3: salmon, mackerel and sardines.
Vegetarian options: walnuts, flaxseed and chia seeds.
Essential in calcium absorption for strong bones and important for overall health. Known as the ‘sunshine vitamin,’ the body produces this when exposed to sunlight. The National Institute of Health specifies several studies where sunlight dramatically improves mood – but during winter months you are unlikely to hit the beach so food sources are required.
Food containing Vitamin D: eggs, salmon, mackerel and cod liver oil.
Vegetarian options: oranges and fortified cereals.
This essential amino acid is converted by the body into serotonin – the well-known ‘happiness chemical’ that also has beneficial effects on sexual desire.
Food containing Tryptophan: cheese, chicken, egg whites and milk.
Vegetarian options: peanuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and soy beans.
These microorganisms are ‘good bacteria’ that help maintain a healthy gut as well as functioning of the brain and immune system. According to the University College Cork, probiotics can alter neurochemistry and treat depression and anxiety-related disorders.
Food containing probiotic bacteria (all vegetarian): yoghurt, kombucha and kefir.
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