How to Eat for a Good Mood
Nutrition plays a significant role in our mood. How we eat affects our brain function and blood sugar. Your mood will be more positive if you eat in a way that keeps your blood sugar steady and normal all day long. If your blood sugar is going up and down like a roller coaster, then your mood will be on a roller coaster ride too.
Your Brain Loves Glucose
Your brain likes to use the sugar in your blood as its fuel source. Another name for blood sugar is blood glucose. You may be surprised to learn that 65% of the glucose flowing in your blood is used by your brain. So eating in a way that guarantees normal blood glucose will help your brain perform at its best.
Meal Skipping and Moodiness
How do you feel emotionally or physically when you skip a meal? I’m sure you will say grumpy, fatigued, or “hangry.” Research shows that a lower blood glucose can lead to aggression, frustration, tension, nervousness, or low energy.
So how should we aim to eat to support a normal blood glucose and good mood?
- Choose balanced meals that are high in fiber.
- A balanced meal has all three basic nutrients: carbohydrate, protein, and fat.
- Fiber and protein slow down the digestion of your food. This slow digestion results in a steady release of glucose into your bloodstream.
- A good rule of thumb is to never go longer than 5 hours during the day without having a meal or snack.
- Listen to your hunger and honor it. Don’t ignore your hunger.
- Most people feel best if they eat a meal or snack every 3-4 hours.
I’ve included my favorite green smoothie recipe. This is a mild-tasting smoothie that is an excellent source of natural carbohydrate, fiber, and healthy fat.
Tropical Green Smoothie:
1 cup frozen tropical fruit
(banana, mango, pineapple, papaya)
1 cup fresh baby spinach (packed into measuring cup)
1 tablespoon ground flax seed
1 teaspoon grated ginger
Blend all ingredients together and enjoy!
Stasha Kucel MS, RDN, LD
Registered Dietitian and Nutrition Counselor
Benton, David. “Carbohydrate ingestion, blood glucose, and mood.” Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews 26.3 (2002): 293-308.
Yamagata, Ana Sayuri, et al. “Selfish brain and selfish immune system interplay: A theoretical framework for metabolic comorbidities of mood disorders.” Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews 72 (2017): 43-49.