It’s not just stress at work or at home, poor sleep, hormone imbalances and health challenges that can cause shifts in our moods – food can have a dramatic impact on our mood too.
Unhealthy eating habits can undermine both our emotional and mental health and often improving our eating patterns and including certain mood boosting foods can have a significant positive impact on how well we feel both mentally and emotionally.
Here are three simple eating habits and foods that you can incorporate into your daily routine for better moods:
(1) MAINTAIN A REGULAR MEAL SCHEDULE
One of the key factors that influences how settled your moods are on a daily basis, is the fluctuation of your blood sugar levels throughout the day.
Our bodies all have a blood sugar range that is considered normal and that they work hard to maintain. When your blood sugar levels are stable, your energy levels tend to be good, you don’t experience much sugar cravings – and your moods tend to be balanced too. But, as soon as your blood sugar starts fluctuating too much, then irritability and poor moods can easily become a regular occurrence in your daily life.
That’s why, keeping your blood sugar stable is crucial in order to improve and balance your moods.
There are a few different factors that affect your blood sugar level, but one of the main ones is your meal schedule. If this schedule is more-or-less fixed and contains an adequate number of meals each day, your blood sugar is more likely to remain stable, as are your moods.
On the other hand, if you do not eat regularly and tend to skip meals or eat them at very different times each day, your body will struggle to maintain your blood sugar within the normal range, leading to irritability, low energy and sugar cravings.
(2) STAY HYDRATED
About 60% of an adult’s weight is fluid and that percentage is even higher when it comes to our brain – a whooping 73%!
When we are dehydrated, this level of fluid in our brain falls and as a result, our brain temporarily shrinks. This can cause a headache and also negatively affect our concentration and moods, making us less able to focus – and making us crankier.
Dehydration can also cause a drop in the blood pressure, which decreases the blood flow to the brain, causing sleepiness and fatigue.
Fortunately, after we re-hydrate, these effects are reversed, and the brain is returned to its normal shape, improving our focus, energy and lifting our moods.
(3) EAT SEAFOOD, NUTS AND SEEDS
Fish and other seafood – as well as to a lesser extent nuts and seeds – contain Omega 3, a fatty acid which is important for optimal functioning of our brain and supporting good moods.
A number of research studies have linked low levels of Omega 3 to a greater likelihood of mood disorders, including depression, and have also shown that supplementation with Omega 3 may help to alleviate their symptoms.
If you do not eat fish or seafood, and also avoid nuts and seeds, you may be able to get enough Omega 3 from fortified foods (these most often includes certain eggs, milk, yogurt and juices), or alternatively your doctor or a qualified nutritionist can advise you on the right kind of supplements that will help you ensure that your body gets all the Omega 3 it needs.
So these are some very simple foods and eating habits that you can start with and that might just help make your days a little bit brighter!