Food and Mood

What we eat affects both our physical and mental health. Improving your diet can help to improve your mood, give you more energy and help you to think more clearly.

1. Eat Regularly!

When your blood sugar levels drop you are likely to feel tired, irritable, and depressed. This can be prevented by eating regularly and choosing foods that release energy slowly, so blood sugar levels remain stable. Foods include pasta, rice, oats, wholegrain bread, cereals, nuts and seeds. Avoid foods which will cause blood sugar to rise and fall rapidly such as sweets, biscuits, fizzy drinks and alcohol.

2. Stay hydrated!

If you do not consume enough fluids, this can affect your ability to concentrate or think clearly. It can also cause constipation which results in pain and lowers your mood. It is recommended you drink 6-8 glasses of water a day, but be careful when drinking tea, coffee or juices which contain caffeine and sugar.

3. Get your 5 a day!

Vegetables and fruits are an excellent source of minerals, vitamins, and fibre to keep our body healthy. Eating a variety of different coloured fruit and vegetables ensures a good range of nutrients are absorbed in the body. Remember one portion is classed as a handful, small bowl, or a small glass.

4. Look after your gut!

Often your gut will reflect how you feel emotionally. When you are stressed or anxious it can slow down or speed up. A healthy digestion relies on plenty of fibre, fluid, and exercise. When developing new eating patterns, do this slowly so the gut has time to adapt. Healthy gut foods include fruits, vegetables, wholegrains, beans, pulses, live yoghurt, and other probiotics.

5. Get enough protein!

Protein contains amino acids, which are the basis of the chemicals in your brain and regulate your thoughts and feelings. They also help keep you feeling fuller for longer. Protein includes lean meat, fish, eggs, cheese, legumes, soya products, nuts, and seeds.

6. Manage your caffeine intake!

Caffeine is a stimulant, so provides quick bursts of energy, but can leave you feeling anxious, depressed, cause sleep disruption or lead to withdrawal symptoms if stopped suddenly. It can be found in tea, coffee, chocolate, cola, and energy drinks.

7. Eat the right fats!

Your brain requires fatty acids (such as omega-3 and -6) to keep it working well. Healthy fats are found in oily fish, poultry, nuts, olive and sunflower oils, seeds, avocados, milk, yoghurt, cheese, and eggs. Avoid foods containing ‘trans fats’ or ‘partially hydrogenated oils’ as these will have a negative impact on your mood and physical health.

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