4 Steps To Use Food To Improve Your Mood
“I feel so energized!” is one of the first things my clients report when they start to embrace a more balanced and nutritious style of eating and get in better touch with their hunger and fullness cues.
Yet the relationship between food and mood is complicated by the fact that certain foods may make us happy independent of their nutritional value, yet certain other nutrient dense foods may play a meaningful role in providing a sustained mood boost over the long-term.
Obviously being overly stressed or restrictive about your food choices won’t help, but if we are able to draw a stronger connection between the food we eat and how we feel, perhaps by keeping a food-mood journal, that’s a great starting point.
But what else can we do to utilize the power of food to improve our mood?
Let’s find out.
###My 4 Steps To Use Food To Improve Your Mood
There is a LOT of research out there on how food improves your mood, but here are some of the key messages.
You don’t have to wait until you age to see the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables. A study of 12,000 Australians found that when they increased their servings of fruits and vegetable intake (by eight servings per day) they were more satisfied with their lives.
These benefits weren’t limited to just those eating eight servings per day, increasing fruit and vegetable by just one serving per day also showed increased life satisfaction. Over the course of this study (24 months) fruits and vegetable intake made participants just as happy as eating sweets.
There’s a lot we don’t understand about the gut-brain relationship, but early research is suggesting a strong connection between our microbiome (the microbes that live inside humans) and the way we feel. Foods high in fiber, unsaturated fats, and probiotics tend to make the gut happy!
A study of almost 9,000 individuals showed that those who consumed fast food more often were more likely to suffer from depression, demonstrating there is definitely a balance to be struck between eating out and eating in when it comes to how food affects our mood in the long-term.
Dieting and strict restriction are typically ineffective in the long term and may lead to an increase in weight. Food makes us happy. When trying to make healthier choices I work with clients to see what we can add in to help them feel better. I always suggest my client add before they subtract!
Take Home Message
Want to use to food to take your mood to the next level?
Try incorporating just one of these habits for the next month!
Are you convinced that food improves your mood yet? These foods make us feel good, so why isn’t everyone beating down the barnyard doors at the local farms? Check out my latest article (Insert link/title here) to learn more about why sometimes we may not eat what we think we should.