Happiness strategy 8: mood foods
Dr Mark Atkinson
Your level of happiness and psychological wellbeing is closely linked to the health of your body and in particular what you eat (and don’t eat). Given that our brain, nervous system, neurotransmitters (chemicals that communicate mood) and body are built with and replenished by the nutrients that we take into our body, a strong connection between food and mood probably shouldn’t come as a surprise!
For example, a survey conducted by the Food and Mood project found that 88 per cent of those studied reported that changing their diet improved their mental health significantly. Twenty six per cent said they had seen large improvements in mood swings, 26 per cent in panic attacks and anxiety and 24 per cent in depression. The participants said that cutting down on food ‘stressors’ and increasing the amount of ‘supporters’ they ate helped to improve their mood. Stressors were foods such as sugar (80 per cent), caffeine (79 per cent), alcohol (55 per cent) and chocolate (53 per cent). Supporters included water (80 per cent), vegetables (78 per cent), fruit (72 per cent) and oil-rich fish (52 per cent). In addition to removing/limiting ‘stressors and adding in ‘supporters’ I also recommend:
For more information on the subject I recommend The Food-Mood-Body Connection by Gary Null (£13.99, Seven Stories Press).
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