The link between food and mood

Not only does mood influence the type of food you consume, specific foods have been associated with positive and negative moods.

If you are experiencing signs of depression and/or anxiety such as irritability, lack of motivation, low mood and low energy levels, you may it may be more difficult to find the motivation to make healthy food choices. Cortisol levels increase when we are undergoing prolonged stress or psychological pressure and as a result appetite is increased, stimulating cravings of energy dense foods such as fat and sugar.

Food and mood are undeniably linked. Photo by Anh Nguyen on Unsplash .

Research has found that individuals on a low carbohydrate diet present more symptoms of depression and anger when compared to those with a high carbohydrate diet. A plausible reason for this is due to carbohydrates assisting in the production of serotonin which is a neurotransmitter for happiness.

Proteins are also vital in the production of serotonin. Tryptophan is the key amino acid in the synthesis of tryptophan. Tryptophan is present in foods rich in protein. Therefore, if there is no protein present, serotonin cannot be produced.

Proteins are also important in mood as they stabilise blood sugar and therefore sustain energy, causing increases in an individual’s mood. Omega 3 has numerous links to mood. Omega 3 is effective in patients with diagnosis of major depressive disorder and on patients without major depressive disorder, as they have an anti-inflammatory effect. Evidence has also shown that increased fatty acids in the diet increases aggression, as the build-up of fatty acids decreases the brain’s ability to use omega 3.

Foods rich in omega 3 can have a positive impact on the mood of those with major depressive disorders. Photo by Caroline Attwood on Unsplash.

In conclusion, poor nutrition can lead to physical health problems such as obesity. Obesity can have a large impact on an individual’s mental health. Studies have shown that people who are obese have a 55% increased risk of developing depression over time, whereas people experiencing depression had a 58% increased risk of obesity.

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