Food & Mood – The Afternoon Show

I was invited to speak about what foods can affect our mood and thought some of the tips might be useful….if you are eeling a little low? this article will help to give you some dietary tips to help imporve your mood….

What many people do not realise is that despite depression being thought of as a strictly emotional or biochemical disorder an unhealthy diet can play a role in depression and mood swings. Patterns that may aggravate our moods include skipping meals, poor appetite, and cravings for sweets.

Carbohydrate rich foods trigger the production of serotonin and tryptophan which are chemicals that the brain produces that promote a feeling of well-being. However the type of carbohydrate you consume can influence your mood. Refined carbohydrates, primarily sugar and sugary foods, tend to provide immediate, but temporary relief. Once the benefit is gone, you may go looking for more foods to bring up your mood and energy level. Complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains, cereals, breads, pastas, and fruits and vegetables, are more likely to supply a moderate, but lasting effect on brain chemistry, mood, and energy level.

For example look at chocolate. Many people crave chocolate when they feel down. This can be attributed to certain alkaloids that have been isolated in chocolate that may raise brain serotonin levels. Some researchers now speculate that chocoholics may actually have a real biological basis with serotonin deficiency being one factor.

Beneficial Nutrients;

The B-Complex Vitamins

We know that B-complex vitamins are essential to mental and emotional well-being. They are considered essential vitamins. This means the body cannot make them, so we depend on our daily diet to supply them. B vitamins can be destroyed by alcohol, refined sugars, nicotine and caffeine so it is no surprise that many people in Ireland may be deficient in these.

Good dietary sources of B vitamins include oats, rye flour, eggs, bananas, meat, dairy products and wholegrains

Recent research has also indicated the importance of essential fatty acids omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in helping protect against depression and helping those already suffering from depression. Good sources include oily fish, nuts and seeds, functional foods like omega milk and omega-3 spreads.

Negative nutrients for depression include sugary foods which can aggravate mood swings, alcohol which is a natural depressant and caffeine which can deplete your stores of B vitamins.