How to Eat for a Better Mood
Snack smart. It’s all too easy to reach for comfort food without thinking about what you’re doing. That’s especially true if you had a rough day or you’re bored. Trouble is, potato chips, chocolate cookies, and other stuff that’s sugary, fried, or low in vitamins and minerals won’t really make you feel better. To avoid auto-eating, “Ask yourself: 'Am I really hungry?'” Nishawala says. “If the answer is yes, then say, ‘Why am I eating this food, and how will I feel afterwards?’” This stop-and-think moment will usually help you realize it’s better to choose another snack, like an apple with a handful of nuts or some string cheese and crackers.
Switch it up. Eating the same thing day after day is just boring. Plus it means you’re not getting the nutrient mix your brain needs to work well. That can dampen your mood. Try to eat at least one or two different foods (especially fruits and veggies) every day.
Say yes to fat -- the healthy kind, like avocado, nuts, salmon, and olive oil.“A lot of your brain is fat,” Nishawala says. When you don’t get enough, you can feel depressed, stressed, or grumpy.
ALL DAY, EVERY DAY
Eat the rainbow. Certain vitamins are really important for feeling calm and happy.B vitamins and vitamin D can cut some people's risk of depression. B vitamins also give you energy. And when you have energy, you feel better. It’s also easier to make healthy choices that improve your mood, like exercising.
To get your fill of B vitamins, try to choose foods that have rainbow colors:
- Red, blue, and purple berries
- Orange carrots, squash, and peaches
- Dark green vegetables like broccoli, kale, spinach, and romaine lettuce
Get your dose of D with:
- Low-fat milk
- Fish, like salmon and tuna