To what extent are you aware of the effects food has on your mood? With the uncertainties of COVID-19, it is likely for us to not pay attention to what we’re eating. Some of us may tend to eat a lot more when we’re stressed out, while some of us may not. While deciding on what to eat or not eat, we may not have much knowledge on how these foods are affecting our moods at the same time. Below are some helpful tips you can consider while planning your meals for the day:
Is breakfast really the most important meal of your day? Do you spend extra time to decide on what to eat in the morning?
- Avoid starchy breakfast like bagels, doughnuts, and cereals as it will make you feel cranky and have lower energy for the rest of your day.
- Avoid processed foods. Such as sausages, ham, potato chips, and the list goes on.
- DO eat “real foods”. For example, eat blueberries fruit instead of blueberry muffins, slow-cooked oats instead of instant strawberry-flavoured oatmeal. By eating unprocessed foods can keep your energy up and be ready to start the day.
- DO regular exercises in the morning to maintain a more positive mood for the day.
Feeling sleepy and experiencing a food coma after lunch?
- Avoid high-fat and heavy lunches. Such as burgers, deli sandwiches covered in sauces, guacamole and chips. Such foods can make you a little lightheaded throughout the day. High-fat foods are shown to correlate with Alzheimer’s disease.
- DO switch to big bowl of salads with lean protein meat, including chicken and fish, with just a little dressing on top. Avocado and egg sandwich, loaded vegetable sandwich, and lentil vegetable soup are great lunch choices as well. Such food intakes are lesser in calories.
Did you know that what you eat for dinner may affect the quality of your sleep?
- Avoid heavy dinner before going to bed. It is likely for you to experience heartburn and indigestion later at night.
- Avoid spicy or gassy foods.
- DO select protein sources like grilled chicken, fish, or tofu, together with brown rice and steamed vegetables. Research has shown that by eating fatty fish (e.g. salmon, tuna, or anchovies) for two to three times a week can help prevent depression and Alzheimer’s. If you don’t enjoy salmon or any other type of fatty fish, consider fish oil supplements for mood-boosting results.
- DO select a high-carbohydrate snack (e.g. whole-grain toast with jam) 30 minutes or an hour before bed, it will help to boost your serotonin level, which will make you feel more calm.
Some snacks to consider to ease your cravings:
- A popular substitutes for pasta and rice; studies shown that it has some anti-depressant effect.
- The Vitamin D found in mushrooms has mood-boosting effect as well, making your serotonin level increased to prevent depression.
- Dark chocolate
- Select those with at least 70% of cacao can help to destress. Dark chocolate is found to increase your endorphin levels, also gives a mood-boosting result.
- Yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut and other foods with probiotics
- Great for digestion and improve your immune system. Foods with probiotics are found to calm your body and will help with your aggression.
- Vitamin C
- Foods with Vitamin C include oranges, strawberries, broccoli, blackcurrants, and brussels sprouts also have boosting effect for your immune system.
- Such foods are helpful when it comes to protecting your memory as you age. Research has shown that Vitamin C can help to prevent dementia conditions later in life.
Below are some websites you can visit for more nutritional and workout information:
- Eat Your Way to Happiness by Elizabeth Somer
- 50 Foods that Boost Your Mood
- Eating Well for Mental Health
- What to Eat and Avoid to Improve Mental Health
- 6 Best Exercises for Mental Health
- The Mental Health Benefits of Exercise
- 7 Exercises to Boost Your Mental Health
- What to Eat to Feel Happier
- Foods that Make You Happy
By, Jessica Lau, Capital EAP Counseling Intern