Eat better = Look better, feel better

Quite literally, changing your diet can change your mood. In teenagers, junk food and irregular eating can contribute to poor mood control. Anyone who has lost weight due to eating healthier food, will have noticed a mood boost, but this boost is more than gaining the satisfaction of shedding a few kilos.

Instant, or fast food can have low nutritional value, which can mean your nervous system is not receiving the nutrients it needs to function properly. But when you feel miserable, and hungry, it’s easy to turn to takeaway, the chips in the cupboard, soft drink and it can become a negative pattern. Nobody wants to feel this way, and it’s easy to feel helpless to change the pattern.

So, if you want to get a bit scientific about it, write down what you have eaten for the day and how you feel on that day, for one week.

What is classified as junk food? This question is trickier to answer than you might think, but most people have a fairly good idea. Highly processed foods have become ‘normal’ in people’s diets. Chips, fruit juices, chocolate spreads, white flour, white bread and takeaways can be pretty standard daily fare. The problem is, in order to make these foods taste so delicious, they need to have large amounts of sugar, salt, artificial flavours, colours, and preservatives added, and the combination of these can affect moods quite markedly.

Healthy takeaway foods: Asian, Lebanese, Turkish, Japanese

There is some good news though: some foods particularly have a beneficial effect on mood. Here are some things you can try right away stabilise your mood:

There’s a reason why some people turn to chocolate when they’re upset:

Chocolate has a mood-enhancing effect!

… especially if you get the good quality stuff that is easy on the sugar. Cacao high in nutrients, like magnesium, iron, chromium and manganese, helps with cardiovascular health and energy levels. Cocoa powder in hot and cold drinks plus baking is a healthy, fun ingredient to add.

Fatty Acids – Omega-3 fatty acids help to nourish your brain, so have fresh fish to have to help mood balance.

Chilli can increase the release of endorphins, and create pleasant feelings, so add a bit of spice to your stir fries, and make your curries hot!

B vitamins are essential nutrients for your nervous system. If you are deficient in B vitamins, as white flour products like white bread can make you, it can cause symptoms like anxious feelings, poor sleep quality and general irritability, to name a few. Foods high in B vitamins eaten regularly, like wholemeal flour, pasta and brown rice can improve your mood. Other foods rich in B vitamins are dark leafy greens (spinach pie) seafood (pasta marinara) chicken and eggs. Also true instant foods like bananas, almonds and avocados. Put them on your shopping list so they are there in your kitchen cupboard just when you need them.

Real Food, three times a day.

Real food is food in its natural state, that hasn’t been changed in any way, like meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy products, fruit, vegetables, and whole grains. You’ll find these foods on the outside walls of supermarkets, not in the centre aisles.

If anyone in your family suffers from unexplained mood swings, poor concentration, restlessness or sleeping problems, getting back to having breakfast, lunch and dinner with healthier foods can make a real difference. Make no mistake, three nourishing, protein-based meals a day, can leave you or your loved one in a much better mood.

Try it for one week and see!