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Food & Mood

Connect between food ‘n mood is no secret. Food you eat does not only impact your health but also has an effect on the way you feel and behave. As per Alex Korb, a post-doctoral researcher in neuroscience in UCLA, “Brain releases dopamine in anticipation of eating good food, and that anticipation makes eating even more pleasurable.”

If you want to perk yourself up, a balanced diet of low-fat, protein, complex carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables is advised. Intake of foods that are mood busters, meanwhile, should be reduced or avoided. These foods include caffeine, alcohol, trans fats, saturated fats, and packed foods which have high levels of preservative.

There is a long list of good mood foods and bad mood foods, and sometimes recommendations by two nutritionists contradict each other. For instance, coffee by some is advised as a mood lifter, while others say a complete no-no to caffeine. Our take is simple, if you are feeling down in the dumps for some reason, grab that cup of coffee for an insta mood lift. However, don’t make it a habit or caffeine overload would start impacting you adversely.

A few suggestions to keep you in a happy frame of mind:

  • Never skip meals – even though we might not feel hungry if we skip meals – we get irritable
  • Lesser the intake of sugar and refined carbs, better it is. Though these foods may momentarily make us feel ecstatic, they lead to a crash in mood and energy sooner or later.
  • Complex carbohydrates boost serotonin level and uplift our mood. Hence intake of baked potato and whole grain products is advised.
  • Say yes to citrus fruit, leafy vegetables, beans, eggs and chicken. These contain Vitamin B-12 and folic acid, which help us remain cheerful.
  • Bananas (magnesium to decrease anxiety, vitamin B6 to promote alertness, tryptophan to boost feel-good serotonin levels), brown rice (serotonin, thiamine to support sociability), and spinach (magnesium, folate to reduce agitation and improve sleep) definitely are mood uplifters

Good Mood Foods

Energy Generators
  • Complex carbohydrates (brown rice, quinoa, amaranth, millet, buckwheat)
  • Fresh fruits, vegetables
  • Protein in fish, lean meat, dairy
  • Nuts (almonds, walnuts)
  • Seeds (flax, sesame, pumpkin, sunflower)
  • Chocolate (A stimulant but helps good mood if taken in moderation)

Bad Mood Foods

Energy Sappers
  • Stimulants (tea, coffee, cola, alcohol)
  • Sugary, starchy foods (cakes, candies)
  • Fried or fatty foods
  • Foods with additives or preservatives
  • Wheat and other gluten containing grain (rye, barley, spelt, kamut)
  • In case of food allergies, dairy and nuts
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