We all know that a healthy diet is key to keeping our bodies fit and well, but can it help your mind too?
Here’s all you need to know about the link between food and mood, including some tops tips on easy ways to eat well.
What’s the link between food and mood?
According to Mind there is evidence that as well as affecting our physical health, the foods we eat may also affect how we feel. Improving your diet may help you to boost your mood, give you more energy and help you think more clearly (1).
As well as what foods we eat, when we eat can also have an impact on how we feel. If you’re blood sugar levels drop, you might find yourself feeling tired or irritable.
Eating regularly can help, but also eating foods that release energy slowly will help keep your blood sugar levels steady throughout the day. You could try eating oats and cereals in the morning, wholegrain bread for lunches and pasta or rice for dinners.
Three Top Tips on Easy Ways to Eat Well:
1. Remember to drink enough:
Your body needs enough water, or other drinks to function as it should and to help avoid dehydration. If you get dehydrated, you might find yourself feeling dizzy, lightheaded or tired (2). Try to aim for six to eight glasses a day, this is around 1.2 litres.
You might find it helpful to keep a water bottle with you at all times as an easy way to remind yourself to stay hydrated. You can even get a bottle with markings on to help you keep track of how much you’re drinking throughout the day.
2. Get your 5 a day:
Fruit and vegetables are important for our diets as they contain lots of vitamins, minerals and fibre to help us stay well. Try to eat a rainbow of fruit and vegetables to get a range of nutrients.
You could try adding fruit to your cereal, porridge or yoghurt in the morning, snacking on cucumber, peppers or carrots in the day and adding an extra portion of veg to your favourite meals.
3. Make sure to get enough protein:
Proteins are essential in helping the body to grow and repair itself, and it can help you feel fuller for longer. Meat is the obvious source of protein, but it isn’t the only source. You could try eggs, pulses such as beans, peas and lentils.
For a protein packed snack, try nuts and seeds as they are also good sources of protein and are high in fibre. But they can contain high levels of fat, so make sure you eat them in moderation.
What about exercise and mental health?
Alongside eating well, exercise can also help to boost your mood by releasing “feel-good” hormones that give you more energy and can help you manage stress (3). For more information, here’s our blog on exercise and mental health.