You know how sometimes, after a rough day, you just want a bucket of wings and a side of fries? Or maybe warm butter chicken and rice? Your mood may be contributing to the kinds of food you crave. Did you know it works the other way around, too? There’s a food and mood connection!
Think about how you felt after eating a big buffet dinner at a wedding. That is if you can remember what life was like before the COVID-19 pandemic started. Did eating that food make you feel a certain way afterwards? The bhangra music hit differently, didn’t it?
Unhealthy food can put you in a bad mood and can make you feel tired and irritable. Likewise, healthy food choices can boost your energy and overall sense of wellness.
Feeling super worn out or tired may not only be caused by your heavy workload. It could be because your stomach is working overtime to break down unhealthy foods. Thankfully, some foods can help you feel recharged and raring to go!
Food rich in powerful nutrients will help unlock a new level of better health. I know what you’re thinking. Who wants to eat romaine lettuce or daal all the time? Well, good thing some of the top mood-boosting foods are anything but boring!
Proteins like chickpeas and fish contain tryptophan which helps produce serotonin in our bodies. Serotonin is what helps us feel good and satisfied. Foods containing Omega-3-fatty acids like salmon, chia, or walnuts may have the ability to lower feelings of depression. Dark chocolate, nuts, and the ever-so-hashtaggable (run with me on this) avocado all contain magnesium, which is a nutrient involved in regulating mood.
Refined carbs leave you feeling not so fine
People often ask me how junk food affects your mood. The truth is, it all comes down to what processed foods do to you at a cellular level. Eating too many refined carbohydrates, like desi sweets, chips, doughnuts, cakes, cookies (and more), can cause blood sugar to rise and fall very quickly and may lead to a nutritional imbalance.
No one’s saying you have to go cold-turkey on some of the snacks you love, but switching it up every now and then might be a good idea. Instead of having a doughnut with your coffee each day, try a banana or clementine. If anything, it will keep you feeling fuller for longer and get you through that 4:00 PM slump.
Want to boost your mood right away? Take on our 5-for-5 challenge
Are you ready for a recharge? I have just the easy-to-do challenge for you.
The 5 for 5: eat 5 fruits or vegetables a day for 5 days. Simple, right? Then grab your cell phone and take a quick note or voice memo to capture how you feel each day.
Eat an apple with breakfast, 1 cup of salad with a 1/2 a cup of cucumbers for lunch, which equals 2 veg servings, and you’re more than halfway done for the day. Throw in a 1/2 cup of green peas with dinner and one banana as a snack, and you’ve just dominated the challenge. It’s that easy.
Or you can keep it really simple greek salad style: 1 cup cucumbers, 1 cup red peppers, 1/2 a cup of tomatoes, throw in some cheese and olives for extra flavour. Eat this for lunch, and that’s your five a day done in one meal.
Seriously, try this out like it’s an experiment. Then genuinely look at how you feel and what your energy level is like. For more tips on how to get started, check out what Canada’s Food Guide has to say about healthy eating habits.
How did the 5-for-5 challenge go for you? Let us know in the comments below!