Can some foods make you ‘high on life’?
Is the food-mood connection real? It is interesting to note that there are a number of studies about our eating habits that are starting to provide interesting data. Evidence suggests that what you eat and how you feel are connected. Is there really a food-mood connection? Recent research suggests that certain foods can assist with fighting depression and boost positive mood and emotions. Such foods include fruit, vegetables and whole-grains. The winners are whole foods. Highly processed food has been linked with negative moods and less positive emotions.
The recent research does appear to be broad. Scientists were adamant that rather than individual, specific foods being a negative effect, it was more your diet as a whole that mattered the most. Scientists also observed how the effects of eating different types of food might affect your mood over several weeks or months. In many cases, it was observed that what and when you eat affects how you feel. Studies have shown that people who eat regularly and get their calories from healthy, nutritious foods, are happier and less moody.
Verbal feedback received from a number of respondents suggests sugar is a substance that resonated with them. Highly processed white sugar was reported to have a negative effect on respondents overall self ratings. Very high or very low blood sugar levels were also observed to have an effect on mood (generally over a shorter time frame though).
Basic healthy eating tips
There are a few tips to gain a positive food-mood connection.
- Eat regularly and do not skip meals
- Avoid or limit alcohol
- Beware of the simple energy boost you get from simple carbohydrates (e.g. choc-chip cookies)
- Aim for complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, beans and fruit and vegetables
The movement away from processed food to more whole food is an attempt to improve overall gut health. Highly processed foods can reduce the ability of the gut to stop harmful substances from passing through the gut wall and into the bloodstream (sometimes referred to as ‘leaky gut syndrome’). In recent times, the removal of gluten from some people’s general food intake has significantly assisted with reducing effects such as diarrhoea, fatigue and nausea.
Individuals today are much more aware of basic food safety elements they need to be aware of, but are not aware of the important nutritional information they should know. For example, if a person chooses to avoid gluten as a lifestyle choice, researchers have highlighted that they need to be careful of what potential vitamins they may miss out on. Even though some people might like shakes, filled with green vegetables and fruits, it is still important to have whole foods in your diet. It is important to remember that chewing is good for the overall health of your mouth.
Balance it seems is the key to getting the food-mood connection right.