A well-balanced diet can balance mood! It can make you happier just by making you healthier.
Diets high in refined sugars and foods with very little nutritional value can make you more tired and lethargic. It can often lead to weight gain which has further negative effects on mood and self-esteem.
It’s important to eat regularly, and include the main food groups in your daily diet. Not eating regularly can lead to a drop in your blood sugar and a drop in your mood with it.
While diet alone cannot cure depression or anxiety, foods rich in certain nutrients can help reduce stress and improve your mood.
An amino acid that the body uses to help make serotonin, which is known to modulate mood, emotion, sleep and appetite. Found in bananas, walnuts, turkey, sunflower seeds, milk, eggs, cheese, brown rice, chicken and fish.
They can be found in whole grains, fish, poultry, eggs, milk and leafy green vegetables. People with low levels of the B-vitamin folic acid are more likely to be depressed and less likely to get a positive result from anti-depressant drugs. Sweet Potatoes are full of B-vitamin folate and B6. These can help to alleviate premenstrual symptoms and depression. They also help to keep blood sugar levels steady preventing mood swings and sugar cravings.
Omega-3 fatty acids
These are essential fatty acids important to your overall health. Surveys have shown that the more fish the population of a country eats the lower their incidence of depression. The richest dietary source is from oily fish such as salmon, sardines, mackerel, pilchards, herring, trout and fresh but not tinned tuna. There are two key types of omega-3 fats, EPA and DHA and the evidence suggests that it’s the EPA which seems to be the most potent natural anti-depressant. If you don’t eat fish; walnuts, flaxseeds and sunflower seeds are also good sources of Omega-3.
Try to drink about 1.2 litres (6-8 glasses) a day, and more if you are very active or it is a hot day. Dehydration can cause headaches, mood changes, lethargy and poor concentration.
How you feel physically affects your mood, so look after your body. Eating regularly, having slow release energy foods and getting enough essential vitamins and minerals from your diet can help improve your mood. It can also help symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression.