We know that our food choices are influenced by our mood.
When we’re stressed out– and really, when are military spouses NOT stressed?– we feel a little run down and turn to sugar, caffeine and carbs to give us a much-needed boost.
But this is a vicious cycle because what we eat will determine our mood. How many times have you scarfed down something fast, cheap and easy for a quick boost and then felt guilty or depressed later on?
Don’t beat yourself up. It happens to the best of us. But there are other options.
Here’s what you need to know about food and how it affects your mood:
Omega 3s Fight Mood Swings
The University of Maryland Medical Center lists several health benefits for Omega 3s. Some studies have shown that fish oil helps reduce mood swings in those diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Others have shown that it may reduce depression symptoms. In addition, Omega 3s also fight inflammation, diabetes and ADHD symptoms.
Things to eat: salmon, walnuts, flax seeds (Grind first. Their tough exterior makes flax seeds impossible to digest whole.)
Protein Promotes an Even Energy Level
Eating high-quality protein, especially in the morning, will set you up for a productive day. Protein allows your blood-sugar level to rise and fall gently instead of spiking sharply and then plummeting when you eat carbs.
Things to eat: organic eggs, almonds, greek yogurt
B Vitamins Keep Depression at Bay
Weill Cornell Medical College created a pamphlet based on the connection between low levels of B vitamins and depression. B6 and B12 both are essential to the creation of dopamine and serotonin, the two neurotransmitters that affect your mood.
Things to eat: chickpeas, bananas, spinach, clams
The Right Carbs Elevate Your Mood
Skip the donut, but don’t go completely carb-free. Healthy carbs are good for you. They keep your energy level even (like protein), and also increase your serotonin (like B vitamins).
Things to eat: whole grains, fruit, vegetables, beans
Skipping meals makes you more apt to binge on unhealthy items. We’ve all been there and it’s bound to happen. Once it does, vow to get back on track. If you have a busy day, plan ahead and keep some of these healthy “fast” foods on hand for when you need a snack.
Things to pack: almonds, walnuts, fruit, yogurt
What are your tips for resisting the junk food urge when stressed?
**If you’re doing all the right things and still feel down, make an appointment to see your doctor. A variety of things may be happening and medication or supplements may be needed. Don’t feel ashamed or scared to ask for help.**