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Eat Happy

Joe Appleton - Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Mood altering foods

Have you ever had chocolate cravings, or pined for that fresh hot cup of coffee to start your day?  Chances are we all have at least one or two favourite foods or treats that can make us forget our worries or provide a revitalising energy boost.

Our bodies are extraordinary biomechanical furnaces that process, regulate and store the foods we consume as energy according to our individual metabolic rates.  However, our daily nutritional intake also affects our biochemistry by regulating mood altering neurotransmitters such as serotonin which boots mood and controls cravings.  Here are some of the healthiest foods for altering your mood that we recommend trying:

Whole Grains

Carbohydrates tend to be grouped together when it comes to the common understanding of nutrition; they often have a bad reputation due to their association with weight gain and low-carb dieting.  The fact is our bodies require a healthy intake of carbohydrates to function properly every day.  The trick is balancing the intake of simple and complex carbs to ensure a regulated release of energy is released.  Typically carbs such as whole grains and legumes have a low glycaemic index GI score and convert to energy at a more regulated rate over a longer period of time as opposed to hi GI carbohydrates which metabolise into energy at a much higher rate within the body over shorter periods of time.  As a guideline, a healthy serving of complex carbohydrates such as porridge or whole grain bread with honey should be enjoyed early in the day and will help sustain healthy and consistent energy levels throughout the day, keep your spirits high and avoid the urge for a quick sugar fix.

Go Bananas

Bananas contain dopamine which is nature’s reward chemical that boosts your mood. They’re also rich in B vitamins, including vitamin B6, which can help to soothe your nervous system, and magnesium, another nutrient associated with positive mood.  Just be careful to limit them if you have insulin/leptin resistance.

Omega-3 Fats

Found in fresh salmon or supplement form, such as krill oil, the omega-3 fats EPA and DHA play a role in your emotional well-being.   This is partly due to DHA being a one of the fundamental building blocks of brain cells ability to communicate with each other as well as inherent anti-inflammatory properties that have been associated with mood stability.

Most importantly we recommend simply eating regularly and keeping well hydrated to maintain a healthy nutritional balance and sunny disposition, also, a little chocolate now and then never hurts!

Food Mood: Measuring Global Food Sentiment One Tweet at a Time

An interesting collaborative project is being conducted and led by a digital research studio Affect Lab into measuring global food sentiment and the way in which certain foods affect our mood by using people’s food related tweets to classify their mood in real time.  It makes for interesting reading and you can check it out here.


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