Remember when we wrote about certain foods that can keep you hydrated? The list is here if you need to refresh your memory – have a look, we’ll wait.
Well, it also turns out food can have a different sort of impact on the eater: uplifting or lowering mood. We’re not talking about eating ice-cream to cheer yourself up (no matter how effective this is short-term!) – but how the actual nutrients or chemicals present in food affect the body and brain chemistry, for good or for bad.
If you’re eating a fair amount of mood lowering foods, you might like to substitute with better alternatives for a few weeks and see how you feel.
Not surprisingly, sugar made the list of mood lowering foods – it can be tricky to avoid sugar as it is found in many pre-prepared foods and meals (even though it doesn’t really need to be there in the first place!). An excess of sugar in your diet can lead to blood sugar crashes, mood swings and complex detrimental biochemistry like loss of vascular elasticity, even the appearance and smoothness of your skin. If you want to diligently avoid sugar, start reading food labels – and try a natural sweetener like stevia.
Another mood lowering food is the good old cup of coffee. Morning coffee is one habit that’s hard to kick because it’s such a ritual – and we’re tempted to think that without coffee we can’t wake up or focus. Whilst it’s true that coffee has a stimulating effect on the brain, it certainly isn’t the only food you can turn to for a similar or even better morning kick (a healthy morning smoothie can give you a wake-up kick too, even if it doesn’t come served with pretty milk froth and a leaf design on top).
Most uplifting foods are raw, unrefined and mineral-rich – think raw nuts (roasted can spoil some of those good fats), brown rice, dark leafy greens,… You can see the full list of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ foods here.
So next time you’re feeling hungry, try to go for a handful of almonds instead of an alternative that’s high in sugar. It might not sound as appealing a treat, but it will make you feel better!
(Image from here – with bonus tips on how to lift your mood!)