Are you feeling down in the dumps? Are you irritated at how often you’ve been irritable? And You don’t feel like WORKING OUT!
Perhaps it’s time to look at the foods and drinks you consume to see if they are trashing your mood. Foods you eat can help you feel better — or feel worse — in the short-term and the long-term.
Meal-to-meal, keeping your blood sugars steady and your gastrointestinal (GI) tract running smoothly will help you feel good and energetic. If your blood sugars are on a roller-coaster ride — hitting highs and lows from too much sugar and refined flour – you are more likely to feel out of sorts. This is also true if your gastrointestinal system is distressed due to intense hunger from a fad diet or constipation because you aren’t getting enough fiber and water.
Keeping your body healthy and disease-free at all times makes good moods more likely. For example, key nutrients you get in certain foods can influence the levels of feel-good hormones such as serotonin. Other nutrients can help prevent inflammation so blood circulates well to all of your organs.
Eating a heart healthy diet — high in fiber and low in saturated fat — is a great place to start to boost your mood. However, a high-fat, high-glycemic load meal can make you physically feel bad and sleepy afterwards.
Seek out foods rich in vitamin B12 and folic acid (folate).
These two vitamins appear to help prevent disorders of the central nervous system and mood disorders.
Folic acid is usually found in beans and greens (e.g. spinach, broccoli). Vitamin B12 is found in meats, fish, eggs, poultry, and dairy.
Enjoy fruits and vegetables in a big way.
Fruits and vegetables are packed with key nutrients and antioxidant phytochemicals, which directly contribute to your health and health-related quality of life. People who eat the highest amount of fruits and vegetables felt better about their health.
Eat selenium-rich foods every day.
Selenium is a mineral that acts like an antioxidant in the body. What do antioxidants have to do with feeling better and minimizing bad moods?
Try to get at least the recommended daily allowance for selenium: 55 micrograms a day for men and women.
Whole grains are an excellent source of selenium. By eating several servings a day of whole grains such as oatmeal, whole-grain bread, and brown rice, you can easily get 70 micrograms of selenium. Other foods rich in selenium include:
- Beans and legumes
- Lean meats (skinless chicken)
- Low-fat dairy foods
- Nuts and seeds (especially Brazil nuts)
Get a daily dose of vitamin D.
Does a little time in the sun seem to make you feel better? The sun’s rays allow our bodies to synthesize and regulate vitamin D.
People can help manage their moods by getting at least 1,000 to 2,000 IU of vitamin D a day.
Very few foods naturally contain vitamin D. So it is recommended that we get vitamin D from a variety of sources: short periods of sun exposure, vitamin D supplements, and foods.
Our primary source of dietary vitamin D is fortified foods, such as breakfast cereals, breads, juices, and milk. Vitamin D can ALSO be found in:
- Seafood, Meats
- Egg yolks
How Foods and Beverages May Make You Feel Bad
Just as some foods can help you feel better, others can make you feel down. Here are ways to reduce the harmful effects of three foods that can drag you down.
- Reduce foods high in saturated fat.
Saturated fat is well known for its role in promoting heart disease and some types of cancer. Now researchers suspect saturated fat also play a role in depression.
- Limit alcohol carefully.
That ‘feel-good’ drink, alcohol, is actually a depressant. In small doses, alcohol can produce a temporary feeling of euphoria. But the truth is that alcohol is a chemical depressant to the human brain and affects all nerve cells.
Depending on the amount of alcohol consumed, people can go quickly from feeling relaxed to experiencing exaggerated emotions and impaired coordination.
- Don’t go crazy with caffeine.
Caffeine can increase irritability a couple of ways.
- If the caffeine you consume later in the day disrupts your nighttime sleeping, you are likely to be cranky and exhausted until you get a good night’s rest.
- Caffeine can also bring on a burst or two of energy, often ending with a spiral into fatigue.
Some people are more sensitive than others to the troublesome effects of caffeine. If you are sensitive to caffeine, decrease the amount of coffee, tea, and sodas you drink to see if this helps uplift your mood and energy level, particularly in the latter part of the day.