Can you eat your way to happiness?

The article “How Food Affects Mood and Mood Affects Food” by Kate Flinders, Defence Science and Technology Organisation, as published on Livescience, doesn’t go quite that far. But it does show that the foods we eat today may affect our mood days later.

For instance the article states the “Enjoying a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, wholegrain cereals, legumes, low-fat dairy, lean meat and oily fish … is associated with reductions in mood swings, depression and anxiety. And the opposite holds for a diet based on foods high in refined sugar….”

The article goes on to say that it appears the nutrients found in healthy foods work together to produce serotonin, the “feel-good hormone” which is associated with improved mood and relaxation.

Interestingly the article also mentions that our mood impacts food choices too. Research shows a connection between a negative frame of mind and choosing sugary, fatty or salty foods. Although they admit that in the short term those foods seem to boost mood and energy the effect is fleeting and may be followed by guilt.

The connection however between food selection and positive mood is more tenuous. The research suggests that people in a good mood are more likely to prefer nutritious foods. But other research seems to indicate there may be caveats associated.

So which one is in the lead, food or mood?

The article states “the foods we consume may be of paramount importance, and may affect mood a couple of days later.”

Read the complete article here.

Clearly, what we eat matters. The CDC states “it’s important to take the time to plan ahead to make sure you have healthy options available. Whether you are cooking for just yourself, one to two people, or a larger group, planning meals is a good place to start improving your food choices. Taking the time to plan a healthy evening meal can help.”

If meal planning is a challenge take advantage of the many websites dedicated to helping with that. Your family will benefit and thrive mentally and physically.

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