It’s so much easier to stray from your diet than to stay with your diet. While I hesitate and strongly dislike using the word diet, the way we eat no matter how healthy or how poorly is truly our diet.
The individual nutrients in the food you eat have a direct impact on your moods. When you eat fresh whole foods in a balanced way you have a better chance of keeping your mood in balance. Fast foods, frozen processed foods and simple carbohydrate foods lack necessary nutrients which can lead to mood swings. Eating healthy whole foods isn’t only for weight control, healthy eating impacts and improves the entire body.
Mood boosting foods to increase include:
- Get enough of the vitamin B12 through good quality, preferably organic beef, fish, poultry, beans and low-fat dairy
- Phytonutrients from fresh fruits and vegetables. Farmers markets and farm stands are in season, take advantage while you can
- Selenium – it acts as an antioxidant, keeping your blood clean from oxidative stress which gets into your cells on a daily basis; by keeping your cells as clean and clear as possible you can help protect yourself from many diseases as well as keeping your mood in balance. Lack of selenium can lead to anxiety, irritability, hostility and depression. An increase in selenium will normalize your mood, not elevate it. Some high selenium foods include lean pork, beef, poultry, tuna, oysters, crab, sardine, other fish, beans and legumes, nuts, seeds, & low-fat dairy.
- Omega-3 fatty acids; eat fish 2 times weekly and take a fish oil supplement. For information on the right fish oil to take read my article Fish Oil, Liquid Gold?
- 1000-2000 I.U. Vitamin D daily from sun, supplements and salmon, tuna, mackerel, low-fat cheese, egg yolks, fortified milk & orange juice
- 1 ounce dark chocolate daily – 60% cacao or higher
Foods to decrease:
- Fatty foods and saturated fats
- Processed foods- have high chemical content which interferes with proper nutrient absorption
- Alcohol-this ‘feel good’ drink is actually a depressant
- Caffeine-this gives you an energy burst that spirals into fatigue leading to mood swings
Next time you feel yourself in an ‘off’ mood that you cannot quite explain, take a moment to look at what you’ve been eating. If you’ve strayed from healthy whole foods; fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains, your moods can be in a swing.
You can find a few helpful tips on food-mood here: http://capone.mtsu.edu/studskl/food.html