Food and Mood

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I have a confession to make. I have been known to get a bit moody at certain times! I know, I know, I can hear you saying… really? You!?

But I’m afraid it’s true. My husband even calls it my Portuguese pout! (I’m half Portuguese).

In trying to identify what causes at least some of these mood swings, I’ve noticed a pattern. This is good because identifying patterns and triggers are the first step in trying to manage myself better!

Actually, it seems it’s not just me that is susceptible to this, it’s actually fairly common in all of us!

The Pattern? … Food!

Food affects mood

What we eat and how we feel are related!

What we eat doesn’t just affect our physical health and wellbeing, but also our emotional wellbeing!

So today I’m sharing this because understanding this is good news! It means we can each make wise choices about our food that can help us;

  1. Avoid type 2 diabetes (caused as the body struggles to cope with sugar highs and lows)
  2. Reduce our chances of developing heart disease and even some types of cancers
  3. Ensure we have more vitality and energy - Essential in living a life in all it's fullness!
  4. Think clearly and manage our thoughts and feelings with a more positive attitude
  5. Help us enjoy a calmer and more stable mood!

That’s got to be good for everyone right?

If you want to start identifying patterns and triggers in changing moods, next time you are feeling a bit blue, bothered or bouncing off the walls, why not join me in asking yourself some of these questions…

What have I eaten? Foods that release energy slowly such as nuts, seeds oats and whole grains as well as proteins are less likely to result in less sugar spikes and rushes. Foods such as sugary snacks, sugary drinks and even alcohol will promote sugary highs, and subsequent lows! When did I last eat? Eating small and often rather than large meals can again help avoid blood sugar highs and lows. I rarely make wise choices on an empty stomach and often suffer from being “Hangry” if meal times are delayed! What have I been (or not been) drinking? Alcohol and sugary drinks are going to cause a sharp increase, along with a subsequent and equally sharp decrease, in blood sugar levels. Drinking water and keeping well hydrated will mean I perform well in concentration, reaction time, learning, reasoning, and memory, as well as avoid head aches and feel less tired! What colour was the food I’ve been eating? Eating a rainbow of colourful foods from natural sources such as a seasonal variety of fruit and vegetables ensures we get all the vitamins and minerals we need. Eating a rainbow of artificial colours and flavourings can lead to hyperactivity and behaviour issues, especially in some children. How much caffeine have I consumed? Caffeine is a stimulant, keeping us alert and leads to difficulty sleeping. It can also speed up our heart, cause headaches and raise blood pressure. I already know that a lack of quality sleep severely affects my mood!! How balanced is my diet overall? Again, a balanced diet means that our body has access to all the nutrients it needs not only to function well on a day to day basis, but also to repair and ensure healthy replacement and growth of new cells. Am I even hungry? Sometimes I think I’m craving food that may actually be a symptom of an emotional trigger, such as boredom, feeling low, loneliness or fear. So instead of comfort eating with a chocolate bar why not call a friend or go for a walk, which might be a better solution. This will prevent a sugar rush and subsequent low, and also solve an emotional craving at the same time!

We are amazingly and intricately created

Recognising the impact of our eating, in both the short term and long term effects on our physical and emotional wellbeing, can help motivate us to be more intentional about our whole person health!

Lastly, and God forbid, next time you find me being cranky, please don’t take it personally, instead stop and ask me what I’ve eaten, tell me to take a nap or pass me a glass of water!

We’ll probably all benefit from my improved mood, especially my husband! ;-)


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