Given today’s fast-paced way of life, many people assume that stress, fatigue, and even mild depression are simply facts of life that cannot be avoided. But it does not have to be this way. There are things we all can do to improve mood, have more energy, and feel better all around, and it does not necessarily mean making dramatic changes to our lives or giving up any important professional activities.
In fact, much can be done simply by taking a close look at one’s diet and making changes. Believe it or not, what we eat has a gigantic effect on how we feel, not just physically but also mentally and emotionally. And it is a proven fact that people who eat mostly healthy foods are happier than people whose diets contain a lot of junk food. If the healthy food is also natural, the positive effects are even greater.
If you are curious how your diet can help you feel better, here are a few tips to keep in mind.
- Eat often, starting at breakfast. Have you ever noticed how when you have not eaten in a few hours, your mood tends to sink, and you become irritable and perhaps prone to mood swings? This is simply the body telling you that it needs sustenance in order to proceed normally. To help avoid these bouts of moodiness, have small meals every three to four hours, and do not skip breakfast. This will keep your metabolism moving along, and this is good for the mood.
- Avoid concentrated carbohydrates. Sources of concentrated sugar, including candy and soda, lead to wild swings in the blood sugar, and when the blood sugar has wild swings, this tends to affect the mood. That is why you might sometimes get a crashing feeling soon after eating something very high in sugar. Carbohydrates are of course a necessary part of the diet, but try to stick with the healthier types such as those from whole grains.
- Get your vitamin D. Vitamin D is the vitamin that is produced naturally by the body when the skin is exposed to sunlight, though it does have other natural sources, especially a few leafy green vegetables. Vitamin D has been shown to have serotonin-boosting effects, which means that it is good for the mood. And the lack of vitamin D is likely to blame for the particular mood disorder known as seasonal affective disorder, which involves suffering symptoms of depression during the winter months.
- Get protein. Natural sources of protein help regulate the absorption of carbohydrates in the blood, and when carbohydrates are absorbed in a balanced way, this prevents the types of mood swings associated with dramatic rises and dips in the blood sugar. Plus, protein helps build muscle, and this in turn boosts energy, leading to a better mood.
- Eat organic. The scientific studies on the health effects of eating organic have been largely mixed, but there is no denying that keeping the body free of preservatives and toxins helps improve the energy and boost the mood. Plus, focusing on eating organic foods naturally leads you to stay away from the types of foods that slow the body and weigh down the mind.
By Lisa Pecos