Can foods change your mood? According to several studies, it seems that a person’s choice of food is usually dictated by his state of mind. Conversely, food and nutrition are key factors in your brain’s behavior. Judith Wurtman, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), researched how foods alter one’s mood by changing the levels of specific brain chemicals – dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin -- called neurotransmitters.
Wurtman reported that a stable brain serotonin level is associated with positive moods, while an unstable level of serotonin -- caused by hormones, alcohol, stress, or drugs -- can create wide mood swings. Whatever you eat, the food-mood feeling usually lasts no more than two to three hours after eating.
Factors that Affect Mood
- Types of foods and fats
- Poor diet
- Excessive snacking
- Size of meal – small meals better than large meals – too many calories stress the body and decrease alertness and concentration after a meal
- Heart rate
- Body Clock – Sleep, Alertness, Morning or Evening Person
- Tension & stress
- Lack of exercise
- Chemical imbalance
Happy Foods – Alertness & Concentration – Protein driven – Increase Dopamine & Norepinephrine
Happy Foods – Calmness & Relaxation – Carbohydrate driven – Increase Serotonin
What can I do? – Optimum Diet & Superfoods
Daily vitamins, minerals, herbs and supplements – make sure you consult your medical expert before taking any of the following:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin B complex, B12 and B6
- Pantothenic acid
- Folic acid
- Calcium & Magnesium combo
- Siberian ginseng
- Kava Kava
While foods high in sugar – and most fat-laden comfort foods -- will initially give you a sense of contentment and satisfaction, they will also cause a sudden drop in mood and energy – about an hour after eating – and can lead to anxiety, irritation, and lethargy. Therefore, it is best to stick with the foods you know will put you in a good mood AND help your health.