What goes into your belly has a direct effect not only on your waistline but also your brain health. Food fuels the mind, and when you don’t give your brain the right fuel, it could result in a noticeable mood change. You may already know that foods like fatty fish and whole grains can fuel the brain with nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids and fiber, but do you know which foods will have the opposite effect and sour your mood as a result? Here’s a quick guide:
If you think that shortening and margarine are good alternative fats to use in your cooking, think again. Your body prefers the real thing when it comes to butter, because shortening and margarine are packed with hydrogenated oils, which disturb the balance of good fats in your brain. That means less thinking power and more emotional disturbances. If you can’t bring yourself to use butter, try coconut oil for a thicker consistency fat or olive oil for everyday cooking.
Diet soda is a trickster, because it cons you into thinking that you’ve had sugar when you really haven’t. The result? Increased sugar cravings that can put you in a bad mood. Plus, the artificial sweetener used in most sodas, aspartame, has been shown to have negative effects on serotonin production—which makes it harder for your brain to regulate your mood. Better zero-calorie beverages would include unsweetened tea or iced black coffee, or, of course, plain water.
Cereal and Granola
Most people think of cereals and granola as universally healthy foods, but many brands pack in loads of extra sugar, which is something you should look out for. When you start the day with a sugary cereal, you’ll end up hungry faster and have a sugar crash throwing you off in the mid-morning. Choose oatmeal or a low-sugar cereal to avoid the hangry feelings you might otherwise experience with your standard breakfast cereal.
It’s not just sugar that messes with your brain. Salt can be problematic too, especially when it takes the form of MSG, or monosodium glutamate. This common flavor enhancer is known to cause fatigue and moodiness (as well as headaches), so keep it off the menu come snack time.
When it’s more than just your diet causing your bad mood, connect with MeMD to explore our convenient behavioral health services. You can attend therapy sessions online, so you won’t ever have an excuse not to find the help you need.