When daily routines are disrupted and stress levels are high, most of us tend to reach for comfort foods to help us cope (it’s not just me right??). The more stressed you are the worse your mood tends to be… tired, stressed, grumpy and all you want to eat is something deep-fried and smothered in chocolate. However, before you eat that donut… read on to know which foods can boost your mood.
Nutritional psychiatrist Dr Naidoo says that ‘what you eat can have a significant effect on your mental health.’
It turns out that food can either act to stimulate the physical manifestations of stress in your body or it can work towards creating balance in your body.
Your food choices can literally help your body cope with your daily stressors and IMPROVE your mood or make you feel worse (now that’s a mic drop if I ever saw one)
Tell me more about how food can boost my mood?
This means that if you already feeling down grabbing your closest cookies will ultimately make you feel worse. It’s said that reaching for a store bought, processed sugary snack actually spikes your blood sugar levels which can in turn increase your anxiety and actually worsen your mood.
It’s fascinating to see growing evidence that shows a strong link between the food you eat and your mental health. Research shows a link between a diet of highly processed food and refined sugars to worsening of symptoms of mood disorders such as depression. This isn’t the only reason some of us feel off our mental game. However, in the context of food, how you nourish your body is something that’s within your control.
If it can make a difference it’s worth a shot right?
4 foods that can help relieve stress and boost your mood.
1 – Omega 3s fatty acids found in oily fish like salmon, sardines as well as flaxseeds, chai seeds and pumpkin seeds.
These foods have an anti-inflammatory effect on the brain. They also work offset the effects of your stress hormone called cortisol on your body.
2 – Dietary fiber found in fruits and veggies like pears, apples, bananas, broccoli, lentils, chickpeas and brown rice.
This aids your digestion and plays an important role in your gut health.
3 – Fermented foods like yogurt and Kimchi
These work at keeping your gut in balance and healthy (check our post on ‘Why a healthy gut leads to a happier life‘). There is a very real link between your gut health and your brain health!
4 – Vitamin D found in mushrooms, and the sun
Vitamin D helps decrease inflammation. People with lower levels of Vitamin D tend to show higher levels of anxiety. So boosting your Vitmain D levels can only help.
Keep in mind that we’re all unique
It’s important to remember that there’s not just ONE food we all need. Each one of us is unique and our bodies need different things to thrive.
As a whole to live a happier and healthier life we need to look at eating whole, fresh and real food. LOTS of colourful veggies and fruits.
It can be hard to continue making good food choices when you stressed, but every small thing you can do to help yourself cope is worth it (right??)
Stieg, C. 2020. Nutritional psychiatrist: 5 healthy foods that help relieve stress and anxiety. Found at: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/09/05/dr-uma-naidoo-foods-to-eat-that-help-reduce-stress-and-anxiety.html
Taylor, A &Holscher H, 2020. A review of dietary and microbial connections to depression, anxiety, and stress. Found at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29985786/
Lachance, L & Ramsey, D. 2015. Food, Mood, and Brain Health: Implications for the Modern Clinician. Found at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6170050/ ,
Naisoo, U, 2018. Gut feelings: How food affects your mood. Found at: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/gut-feelings-how-food-affects-your-mood-2018120715548
Selhub, E. 2015. Nutritional psychiatry: Your brain on food. Found at: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/nutritional-psychiatry-your-brain-on-food-201511168626
Cording, J. 2020. What health experts eat to manage stress. Found at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/jesscording/2020/11/15/what-health-experts-eat-to-manage-stress/?sh=fb4bb59213e5