Firstly I want to start by saying if you eat a chocolate bar it’s not going to solve all your problems but I find it really interesting how food and different types can alter my mood.
Evidence suggests that as well as affecting our physical health, what we eat may also affect the way we feel mentally.
A growing number of studies have demonstrated that a being vegan and excluding animal products may actually help make us feel happier. More antioxidants in the blood from plants have also been associated with a lower risk of feeling blue.
Improving your diet may help:
- Improve your mood
- Give you more energy
- Help you think more clearly.
Mental health may be influenced by what is happening in our intestines as well which I can totally relate to, as I’m sure many people with IBD or similar conditions can as well. One study showed that one month of probiotics increased mood and decreased anxiety.
Obviously, a vegan diet is not an instant fix to cure all illnesses. Certainly not for people like me that have virtually no serotonin and need medication for the rest of their life. For me, it helps a little alongside treatment and it couldn’t hurt to try it right? I think studies have shown there’s definitely something to mood & food.
If I don’t have any food that I actually feel like eating then that definitely feeds my depression. When I’m not feeling great and it’s a struggle to do anything the last thing I want to do is cook so having nutritious food on hand makes all the difference.
Vegan ready meals that aren’t full of salt and have carbs and veggies are what I reach for when I feel meh.
Foods high in simple carbohydrates, such as pasta, potatoes, bread and popcorn, typically increase insulin levels and allow more tryptophan (the natural amino acid building block for serotonin) to enter the brain, where the brain cells can convert it to serotonin.
They can be used to make you feel happy, but can also cause high blood sugar levels that over time can contribute to memory problems. We recommend complex carbohydrates, such as sweet potatoes, apples, blueberries, carrots, and garbanzo beans, as a healthier way to boost serotonin.– Brain MD
Getting enough protein: Protein contains amino acids which your brain needs to regulate your thoughts and feelings. Good vegan protein sources: seitan, tofu, tempeh, legumes, nuts and seeds.
Getting your 5 a day: Fresh, frozen, tinned, dried and juiced (one glass) fruits and vegetables all count towards your 5 a day. A lot of the food items above have at least 1 portion in, I find it pretty easy to get my 5 a day. Some good examples of good mood fruits/veggies are strawberries, blueberries, greens & sweet potato.
Examples of mood foods I love
Healthy fats: Your brain needs fatty acids (such as omega-3 and -6) to keep it working well. Avocado & Olives are great sources that I like to eat regularly.
Breakfast: I find I’m in a much better mood when I eat breakfast and it gives me a much needed energy boost (I’m terrible at eating breakfast) If you’re not the biggest breakfast person either the new toasts with avo or berries from Pret are really great or you can make a super quick breakfast smoothie just with oats, banana, strawberries & almond milk.
Staying hydrated: I love tea and find relaxing with a cup of whatever blend I’m enjoying makes me feel calm. I love green tea & anything with chamomile is also good to help you de-stress.
Looking after your gut: My meds make me feel pretty shit physically and play havoc with my gut health. I swear by good probiotics, yoghurt, kefir, kimchi, & genie drinks to help with this.
For more information about healthy eating and how food can affect your mood, visit the British Dietetic Association website to read their range of food fact sheets.
I hope you enjoyed this post.
Let me know what you think in the comments or tweet me @veganbabelife
Thanks for reading!