Food for better mood

FEEL GOOD

If you cut down on one food item, look for a substitute to avoid feeling low.

Uplifting : Your choice of food determines your moods.

You like gorging on your favourite delicacy or dessert for its mouth-watering taste. But, the food you have can also affect your mood apart from the waistline. This affect can be positive or negative depending on the choice of food.

 A lot of people end up eating chocolate as self-medication when they feel low, but according to dietitians, that has a very short-term effect in curbing the blues. “Instead of chocolate, the better option is to have fresh and colourful salad to overcome the temporary blues because feeling low is are more psychological than physiological,” says Sandhya Pandey, chief dietitian at Columbia Asia Hospital in Vasant Vihar.

However, dark chocolate can be a better option and has less sugar in it. The higher the cocoa content, the better it is to curb blues. “Controlled intake of caffeine in the form of tea, coffee, chocolates and colas has a positive effect, but adverse effect in case of excess consuption,” the dietitian says.

Whole grain cereal with milk, oatmeal with milk and an apple with cheese are some of the sleep inducing food items that have natural properties in them which relaxe and prepare the body for a good night’s sleep. “They contain the amino acid tryptophan that has a calming effect on the brain, which makes it easier to fall asleep,” says Sandhya.

On the contrary, low carbohydrate food such as meat and eggs, most vegetables and low-sugar fruits leave you anxious and fatigued. Carbohydrates, especially whole grain, regulate moods by producing serotonin (mood regulator) in the brain. “A low carbohydrate diet can lead to anxiety, fatigue and reduce the desire to exercise,” informs nutrition and dietitian Mona Goel.

According to Mona, food rich in omega 3 fatty acids found in fish, flax seed and walnuts can uplift you against mild depression and other mood disorders, while vitamin B12 rich foods like poultry, fish, dairy products can be included in diet to ward off low mood. Omega 3 helps brain cells and mood lifting neurotransmitters function properly. Neurotransmitters are the chemicals which form in the brain from the food we eat.

“Moreover, it is often a combination of eating too much of some food and not enough of others that contributes to depression or anxiety. So, if you cut down on one food item, you need to look for a substitute to avoid feeling low,” Mona adds.

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