Food & Your Mood

Posted: January 18, 2008 in Health

Choosing wisely can help you chill-out.

Did you know that certain foods may affect your energy level, mood, and ability to concentrate? Food and mood research suggests that the foods we choose may influence behavior and emotional well-being.

Hungry or not, I want food!

Your body uses substances in certain foods to make chemicals (neurotransmitters) that control mental function. Sometimes we eat because our body needs fuel, but other times we crave a particular food because it makes us feel good.

hungry.jpg

 

Choose your mood

with your food

 

 

TO CALM YOURSELF & RELAX,

EAT CARBOHYDRATES.

If you think “carbs” are bad for you, consider this: carbohydrates stimulate the release of serotonin, a brain chemical that helps reduce pain, decrease appetite and calm nerves. Be careful, though—eating too many carbohydrates may also put you to sleep!

Healthy carbohydrates include fruits, vegetables, and whole grain breads, pasta and cereals.

Other carbohydrates like cake, pie, candy and ice cream are high in simple sugars that will cause peaks and valleys in energy level. If you crave this type of snack, eat a small portion and don’t give in to temptation too often.

 

 

ARE YOU AFRAID TO BE ALONE

WITH YOUR REFRIGERATOR?

If you crave foods with empty calories, substitute a healthier alternative.

Do you scream for ice cream? Try freezing peeled bananas, mangos or strawberries. Once frozen, put them into a blender to create an almost fat-free sorbet. Frozen grapes taste good straight from the freezer.

If you need something crunchy and carrot sticks won’t do, try pretzels or air-popped or low fat microwave popcorn, or a few reduced fat chips with salsa.

When nothing but chocolate will do, give in and forget the guilt. The best way to satisfy a food craving is to eat what you crave in moderation. Consistently denying yourself can lead to bingeing and frustration. Instead have a reasonable portion and enjoy!

 

 

DRINK IT ALL IN: WATCH YOUR FLUIDS

Drink water throughout the day. Every cell in your body depends on water to function. Drinking enough water helps keeps your energy level up.

While caffeine may help you focus for a short time, it may leave you feeling jittery or drained or both.

Other good choices include herbal teas and seltzer mixed with a little juice.

To boost your brain power, choose lean proteins. Protein-rich foods help your body produce epinephrine, norepinephrine and dopamine—brain chemicals that boost mental alertness, thinking and memory. Why lean protein? Fats slow digestion delaying the benefits.

Lean protein-rich choices include: fish, poultry without skin, eggs and lean cuts of meat. Nonfat milk, low fat yogurt and cheese, and legumes (beans and peas) are other good lean protein choices.

 

 

WHEN YOU FEEL SLUGGISH…

Low energy and sluggishness can be a sign of other problems. Consult your physician if the problem is ongoing.

Large meals can make you feel lethargic for up to six hours after eating.

Eat breakfast! Breakfast provides glucose to get your body and brain ready to concentrate and perform. A good breakfast has carbs. Include a whole grain such as cereal or whole grain toast or bagel. Fruit gives quick fuel to help you perform and think better. Proteins—milk, yogurt or an egg—get you through the mid-morning slump and avoid “crankiness.”

fruit.png

Eat iron-rich foods such as lean meats and fortified breads and cereals. To increase absorption from non-meat sources, eat fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C with your meals.

Plan one or two healthy snacks during the day like air popped popcorn, a piece of fresh fruit, or protein such as nonfat yogurt.

 

 

 

DRINK IT ALL IN: WATCH YOUR FLUIDS

Drink water throughout the day. Every cell in your body depends on water to function. Drinking enough water helps keeps your energy level up.

While caffeine may help you focus for a short time, it may leave you feeling jittery or drained or both.

Other good choices include herbal teas and seltzer mixed with a little juice.

 

soup.png

ARE YOU AFRAID TO BE ALONE

WITH YOUR REFRIGERATOR?

If you crave foods with empty calories, substitute a healthier alternative.

Do you scream for ice cream? Try freezing peeled bananas, mangos or strawberries. Once frozen, put them into a blender to create an almost fat-free sorbet. Frozen grapes taste good straight from the freezer.

If you need something crunchy and carrot sticks won’t do, try pretzels or air-popped or low fat microwave popcorn, or a few reduced fat chips with salsa.

When nothing but chocolate will do, give in and forget the guilt. The best way to satisfy a food craving is to eat what you crave in moderation. Consistently denying yourself can lead to bingeing and frustration. Instead have a reasonable portion and enjoy!

Resource: http://www.balancemindbodysoul.com/tips/Food_Your_Mood.pdf

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