You Are What You Eat: How Certain Foods Can Change Your Mood
Have you ever wondered why after you eat certain types of food you feel happy or tired? Well it’s been proven that certain foods can change and alter your mood for better or for worse. The science to this is that recent research has shown that the nutrients in food are precursors to neurotransmitters. Depending on which foods you eat, you develop certain levels of those neurotransmitters, which can affect your mood. The secret, however, lies in knowing which foods have a positive effect on your mood as well as which foods have a negative effect on your mood.
Some of the most common mood draining foods or foods that negatively affect your mood includes soy, diet soda, sugar, and coffee. First let’s start with soy; soy contains a substance called goitrogen which can have a negative impact on the thyroid, or the gland in your neck that secretes hormones. Therefore this can lead to exhaustion and irritability, among other things, and can ultimately affect your mood. Second is diet soda; many people choose diet soda because they believe it is a healthy choice. Ironically enough however, diet soft drinks are loaded with chemicals including artificial sweetener. Therefore many people who consume diet soda report a number of health issues including headaches and mood swings which can negatively affect your mood. Third is sugar; it may seem that consuming sugar in any of its forms provides a natural pick me up but contrary to popular belief it does more harm than help. The truth is it leads to a rise in blood glucose. As your blood glucose rises, your body releases insulin to return it to safe levels. As blood glucose normalizes, you may experience an energy dip with result in mood changes, also known as the infamous “crash.” Last but not least is coffee. To most people a classic cup of coffee seems like a pick-me-up, and many people rely on caffeinated beverages to give them the boost they need to start their day. The main ingredient in coffee, caffeine, works on the adrenaline centers of the brain and can trigger anxiety. Along with anxiety can come irritability and mood swings.
Just as certain foods can negatively impact moods, others can lift you up and make you feel like you’re on the top of the world. Some of the most common foods that can positively impact your mood are complex carbs, high folate foods, spicy foods, and iron-rich foods. First up is complex carbs. Complex carbs can actually boost the level of serotonin in your brain. For those who don’t know serotonin is a neurotransmitter said to have a calming effect and to play a role in sleep. This can elevate your mood and make you happier. Some examples of foods that contain complex carbs are brown rice and oatmeal. Next, high folate foods are very healthy for you, especially the dark leafy greens like spinach. Folate deficiency has been linked to depression but having a good amount of your high folate foods can overcome that depression and improve your mood. Also spicy food can also boost your mood as well as giving you a more natural pick-me-up. Spicy food, like chili peppers, can increase circulation, causing your brain to release endorphins which result in your mood boosting. Lastly are iron-rich foods. Deficiency of iron in your bloodstream can lead exhaustion, depression, and irritability. However, eating iron-rich foods can assure you keep your red blood cells pumped up with oxygen, keeping you in a great mood.
You can see that certain foods can have different effects on your mood and can determine how you will feel and react. You truly are what you eat.