Food and Mood: What's the Connection?

Reviewed Feb 13, 2020

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Summary

If you eat too much or too little of certain foods, you can expect to see an impact on your mood.

Can a lousy lunch affect your afternoon performance? Could that great steak dinner make or break your date?

Most scientists agree that what you eat can influence your mood. The effects may be subtle or dramatic, but your last meal or snack is contributing to how you're feeling right now.

The link between food and mood is not new. Folk wisdom has long helped mankind weather life through the use of food. For example, have you ever heard that eating oysters can increase your sex drive?

Today, researchers believe that our moods are influenced by certain neurotransmitters—chemicals that relay messages along the nervous system to and from the brain. Your body's neurotransmitters are made up of substances obtained from the food that you eat. Neurotransmitters regulate your mood, appetite, behavior, and other functions of the brain. So, if you eat too much or too little of certain foods, you can expect to see an impact on your mood.

What foods will change your mood?

Studies show that a meal or snack high in carbohydrates (starchy or sweet foods) can make you feel drowsy, relaxed, or calm. These moods are related to increased levels of the serotonin neurotransmitter in your bloodstream.

On the other hand, a high-protein meal (meat, dairy products, beans, nuts) can raise blood concentrations of the dopamine and norepinephrine neurotransmitters, which make you feel energetic and alert.

Of course, everyone's brain chemistry is unique to a certain degree. So, some people may react differently than others to specific foods.

Always consider the food-mood connection if you're not sure why you are feeling a certain way. But keep in mind that not all food influences mood. And, not all moods are linked to food. You can be happy or depressed for many other reasons.

Mood managers

  • The food-mood reaction takes place within two to three hours after you eat. If you don't want to be sleepy for your afternoon presentation, don't eat pasta or pizza. Choose grilled chicken or fish with veggies.
  • Even small portions can help manage moods. Try 1 to 2 ounces of cheese or some yogurt to boost your energy. Nibble graham crackers to help you unwind.
  • "Grazing" or eating "mini-meals" are ways to manage your mood throughout the day.
  • Keep a log of your meals/snacks and related moods. Look for trends, and adjust your moods by changing your eating patterns.
  • Eat fresh, whole, unprocessed foods for good health as well as a clear head and stable mood. 
By Rebecca Thomas

Summary

If you eat too much or too little of certain foods, you can expect to see an impact on your mood.

Can a lousy lunch affect your afternoon performance? Could that great steak dinner make or break your date?

Most scientists agree that what you eat can influence your mood. The effects may be subtle or dramatic, but your last meal or snack is contributing to how you're feeling right now.

The link between food and mood is not new. Folk wisdom has long helped mankind weather life through the use of food. For example, have you ever heard that eating oysters can increase your sex drive?

Today, researchers believe that our moods are influenced by certain neurotransmitters—chemicals that relay messages along the nervous system to and from the brain. Your body's neurotransmitters are made up of substances obtained from the food that you eat. Neurotransmitters regulate your mood, appetite, behavior, and other functions of the brain. So, if you eat too much or too little of certain foods, you can expect to see an impact on your mood.

What foods will change your mood?

Studies show that a meal or snack high in carbohydrates (starchy or sweet foods) can make you feel drowsy, relaxed, or calm. These moods are related to increased levels of the serotonin neurotransmitter in your bloodstream.

On the other hand, a high-protein meal (meat, dairy products, beans, nuts) can raise blood concentrations of the dopamine and norepinephrine neurotransmitters, which make you feel energetic and alert.

Of course, everyone's brain chemistry is unique to a certain degree. So, some people may react differently than others to specific foods.

Always consider the food-mood connection if you're not sure why you are feeling a certain way. But keep in mind that not all food influences mood. And, not all moods are linked to food. You can be happy or depressed for many other reasons.

Mood managers

  • The food-mood reaction takes place within two to three hours after you eat. If you don't want to be sleepy for your afternoon presentation, don't eat pasta or pizza. Choose grilled chicken or fish with veggies.
  • Even small portions can help manage moods. Try 1 to 2 ounces of cheese or some yogurt to boost your energy. Nibble graham crackers to help you unwind.
  • "Grazing" or eating "mini-meals" are ways to manage your mood throughout the day.
  • Keep a log of your meals/snacks and related moods. Look for trends, and adjust your moods by changing your eating patterns.
  • Eat fresh, whole, unprocessed foods for good health as well as a clear head and stable mood. 
By Rebecca Thomas

Summary

If you eat too much or too little of certain foods, you can expect to see an impact on your mood.

Can a lousy lunch affect your afternoon performance? Could that great steak dinner make or break your date?

Most scientists agree that what you eat can influence your mood. The effects may be subtle or dramatic, but your last meal or snack is contributing to how you're feeling right now.

The link between food and mood is not new. Folk wisdom has long helped mankind weather life through the use of food. For example, have you ever heard that eating oysters can increase your sex drive?

Today, researchers believe that our moods are influenced by certain neurotransmitters—chemicals that relay messages along the nervous system to and from the brain. Your body's neurotransmitters are made up of substances obtained from the food that you eat. Neurotransmitters regulate your mood, appetite, behavior, and other functions of the brain. So, if you eat too much or too little of certain foods, you can expect to see an impact on your mood.

What foods will change your mood?

Studies show that a meal or snack high in carbohydrates (starchy or sweet foods) can make you feel drowsy, relaxed, or calm. These moods are related to increased levels of the serotonin neurotransmitter in your bloodstream.

On the other hand, a high-protein meal (meat, dairy products, beans, nuts) can raise blood concentrations of the dopamine and norepinephrine neurotransmitters, which make you feel energetic and alert.

Of course, everyone's brain chemistry is unique to a certain degree. So, some people may react differently than others to specific foods.

Always consider the food-mood connection if you're not sure why you are feeling a certain way. But keep in mind that not all food influences mood. And, not all moods are linked to food. You can be happy or depressed for many other reasons.

Mood managers

  • The food-mood reaction takes place within two to three hours after you eat. If you don't want to be sleepy for your afternoon presentation, don't eat pasta or pizza. Choose grilled chicken or fish with veggies.
  • Even small portions can help manage moods. Try 1 to 2 ounces of cheese or some yogurt to boost your energy. Nibble graham crackers to help you unwind.
  • "Grazing" or eating "mini-meals" are ways to manage your mood throughout the day.
  • Keep a log of your meals/snacks and related moods. Look for trends, and adjust your moods by changing your eating patterns.
  • Eat fresh, whole, unprocessed foods for good health as well as a clear head and stable mood. 
By Rebecca Thomas

The information provided on the Achieve Solutions site, including, but not limited to, articles, assessments, and other general information, is for informational purposes only and should not be treated as medical, health care, psychiatric, psychological, or behavioral health care advice. Nothing contained on the Achieve Solutions site is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or as a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care professional. Please direct questions regarding the operation of the Achieve Solutions site to Web Feedback. If you have concerns about your health, please contact your health care provider.  ©2019 Beacon Health Options, Inc.

 

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