We all know the importance of eating healthy to maintain our physical well-being, but it is also important to keep in mind our mental health when choosing what we consume. Certain foods can trigger grouchiness, inhibit mental acuity, or even contribute to serious mental disorders. All parts of our body are connected and it is as necessary to make head-healthy choices as it is to make heart-healthy ones.
It won’t come as a shock that the first step to avoiding bad mood foods is to keep consumption of processed foods to a minimum. Dr. Nancy Hoffman, PsyD and neuropsychologist with Kaiser Permanente of Northern California, also warns us to watch our sugar intake, as too much sugar “will cause your blood sugar to spike and leave you feeling better temporarily, but then the body over-produces insulin and your blood sugar plummets, leaving you feeling worse than you did before... Low blood sugar can make you feel cranky and down in the dumps until you eat or drink something that causes it to rise again.” This encourages a cycle of unhealthy eating that can be seriously detrimental to your overall physical and mental well-being. But what about health foods?
It is possible that even when we think we are making healthy choices, we are eating foods that contribute to bad moods. It is important to take into consideration sugars, omega-6 fatty acids, and additives when choosing our meals. Nuts are obviously more nutritious than potato chips, but salted nuts still have high levels of sodium and, in some cases, may contain MSG. Choosing tea over soda during your three o’clock slump at work is more healthful, but if you have already consumed high levels of caffeine that day, black or green tea can contribute to headaches and irritability. As in all dietary choices, it is best to take the time to be informed about what you put into your body, what kinds of ingredients go into what you consume, and how they will affect you. Eat well, stay healthy, and be happy!
Everyone knows that these sugary drinks are not considered healthy, but did you know that the post-soda “crash” can lead to irritability? Sodas contain simple carbs that are absorbed into your bloodstream immediately, giving you a brief energy boost before both your blood sugar and mood plummet.
Bottled Fruit Smoothies and Juices
Many people reach for bottled fruit drinks as a healthier option, but you need to check the label on these deceptive drinks. They average about 20 grams of sugar per serving and can cause an energy crash, resulting in a sullen mood, similarly to sodas’ negative effects.