Food and Mood: Tips to Boost Your Mood

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Eating for Your Health

Does what you eat influence your mood?


Foods or specific diets may not instantly put you in a good mood, but may help. More research is showing that the way you eat may play a role in mood. The following tips may help you boost your mood and provide you with health benefits:


Eat Regular Meals


Eat every 4-5 hours. Eating consistently throughout the day helps stabilize blood sugars keeping you feeling energized. Be sure to include a nutritious breakfast every morning including a good source of fiber, healthy fat, lean protein and a whole-grain carbohydrate.


Choose Carbohydrates Wisely


Limit refined carbohydrates to keep blood sugars at a normal level. This includes items like regular soda, candy, fruit juice, jam, syrup, white bread, and white rice. Instead, choose high fiber carbohydrates like vegetables, fruit, beans, peas, lentils, brown and wild rice and oatmeal. Avoid following low carbohydrate meal plans, which can lead to fatigue.


Include Protein at Meals and Snacks


This helps to slow the absorption of carbohydrates and keeps you feeling full. Protein foods may include poultry, seafood, fish, veal, pork, tofu, eggs and yogurt.


Eat More Healthy Fats


There has been some evidence showing that omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids may help prevent depression. Include more omega-3 fatty acids into your diet every week like fatty fish, walnuts, canola oil and ground flax seed. Consider following the Mediterranean meal plan, which is a healthy, well-balanced meal plan that encourages intake of more healthy fats.


Get Enough Antioxidants and Selenium


Antioxidants and selenium, which is a mineral that acts like an antioxidant in the body, may help to reduce depression. Fruits and vegetables are good sources of antioxidants; whole grains, beans, lean meats, dairy products, nuts, seeds and seafood are good sources of selenium.


Choose More Food Sources Rich in Folic Acid and Vitamin B-12


Low levels of these vitamins have been linked to mood disorders. Foods rich in folate include whole grain breakfast cereals, lentils, black-eyed peas, soybeans, oatmeal, mustard greens, beets, broccoli, sunflower seeds, wheat germ and oranges. Foods rich in B-12 include shellfish, wild salmon, whole-grain cereal, lean beef, cottage cheese, yogurt, milk and eggs.


Include More Vitamin D


Vitamin D has been shown to possibly decrease depression by increasing serotonin. Vitamin D particularly helps to alleviate seasonal affective disorder. Foods rich in vitamin D include egg yolks, beef liver, and oily fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and canned sardines and tuna, as well as fish oils. Some foods may be fortified with vitamin D, such as milk, soy beverages, orange juices, yogurts, margarines and ready to eat breakfast cereals. Ice cream, cheese and cottage cheese may not be fortified. Because vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin, it needs fat to be absorbed. Check with your medical provider to see if a vitamin D supplement is recommended.


Monitor Your Caffeine Intake


If caffeine intake is excessive it can interrupt your sleep and therefore your mood. Caffeine may provide you with a burst of energy, but can then lead to fatigue. Common sources of caffeine include coffee, tea, chocolate, energy drinks and some soft drinks. Choose more decaffeinated beverages to include into your daily routine. You may choose to keep a record of caffeine containing products consumed to determine the time of day to switch to non-caffeinated products to ensure a good night sleep.


Limit Alcohol


Alcohol is a chemical depressant. Depending on how much alcohol is consumed it may cause someone that is relaxed to being emotional with impaired coordination. Depressive disorders often co-exist with abuse of alcohol.


Include More Physical Activity


There is some evidence showing that those who are overweight and lose weight slowly had an improvement in their mood. Move often and strive for or maintain a healthy body weight.