You may not realize that your diet may be to blame for suffering mood swings. Diet can affect your moods very quickly. Once you learn to follow these principles you will start to feel more emotionally stable throughout the day.
Mood swings can be caused by shifts in blood sugar levels even if you don’t have diabetes. Eating too many simple carbohydrates such as white bread, pasta or white rice can metabolize into sugar and doesn’t really have what your body needs. These simple fillers can be culprits for irritability or mood swings. Allergies or food sensitivities can also be to blame for irritability.
Not getting enough important vitamins, minerals and fatty acids can also affect mood negatively. Do you wonder why you feel so lethargic and moody? Do you wish you could just “snap out of it?” Do you lose your temper sometimes and wish you hadn’t? Check your diet.
Foods that help you to reduce stress:
Turkey- L-Tryptophan is notorious for everyone wanting a long nap after Thanksgiving dinner because of it’s relaxing properties. It also helps your body release serotonin an important brain chemical lacking in people with anxiety or depression. So eat more turkey to increase your serotonin levels and to relax a little. Bananas and dark chocolate also have some Tryptophan as well.
Spinach and green veggies- Has lots of Magnesium in it, which has been known to help combat fatigue and reduce migraines. Fresh spinach is best to avoid cooking out some of the best nutrients with heat. Vegetables are important for your body to function well and have a wide variety of vitamins and minerals needed for energy. Keep your veggie diet diverse and experimental. You might be surprised what you like. I like to add lots of seasonings and herbs to make them flavorful.
Salmon and other fish with omega 3’s- Omega 3 fatty acids are good for you for several reasons. When combating stress, these valuable nutrients help reduce the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. This will help your body return to normal after a stressful event. Also, your brain cells rely on fatty acids to maintain optimal functioning.
Sweet Potatoes- Sweet potatoes not only satisfy your craving for carbs they are full of good for you nutrients; beta-carotene, vitamins, and fiber. Their sweet flavor may also satisfy a sweet-tooth (Even the hard-core sweet tooth should try it).
Oranges- The vitamin C in oranges and other similar fruits can stabilize your blood pressure and also lower the stress hormone cortisol. Too much cortisol can lead to weight gain and fatigue. Vitamin C can also strengthen your immune system. Kiwi fruit, red bell peppers and many other fruits and veggies can also provide vitamin C.
Avocados- This delicious food has loads of potassium and healthy fats to help your body. Go ahead and indulge in some yummy guacamole sometimes! I personally like to spread a little bit on my turkey sandwich with a pinch of salt. Yummy.
Nuts- Nuts are usually packed full of nutrients such as vitamin E or B and help your body stay at it’s best. Nuts also contain Omega 3 fatty acids that are important for brain functioning. Small handfuls are best since they do pack a lot of calories.
Whole Grains- Grains offer many beneficial properties but one is to aide in digestion of the foods mentioned above. Fiber helps your body’s digestive system work well.
Protein- If you find that you have had too many simple carbohydrates and your energy and mood starts to tank then quickly eat some protein. Protein is important to give your body the energy it needs.
It is important to eat a balanced diet. I know, I know, you have heard that so many times before that now it just goes in one ear and out the other. If you are having mood troubles it is important to pay attention this time. Ask yourself what you are eating and how much. Have plenty of fresh fruits and veggies around for snacks. Try really hard not to binge snack on simple carbs (anything with refined sugar and white flour). Graham crackers have been a favorite of mine but I started to notice that I became grouchy about a ½ hour after I had indulged. Sometimes I even felt angry. Now if I have clients who tell me they feel angry and don’t know why, I often start with diet.
If you want to make sure you are getting enough good stuff then you may need to supplement your diet. Here are some supplement suggestions:
Vitamin B Complex- There are several B vitamins that are important. A deficiency in B vitamins has been implicated in individuals with depression. Research by Schimelpfening noted that vitamin B1 (thiamine) is a primary vitamin needed to treat depression symptoms. There are 6 B vitamins, so supplementing with a B Complex is a good way to cover your bases.
Calcium- Calcium is an important mineral not just for your bone health. It also helps you to sleep at night, which is also important to function at your best.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids- Fish oil tablets or Flax seed can provide this important fat to help your brain function at it’s best. Some research has shown that a lack of Omega 3’s is to blame for an increase in depression and bipolar disorder. Taking Omega 3’s will help increase the neurotransmitter Serotonin needed to relieve mood disorders.
If you don’t take fish oil because of the unpleasant phenomenon known as “fish burps” then stick with flax seed tablets or ground flax seed. I put mine in yogurt and spaghetti sauce (that way my family gets some too). I have also found fish oil tablets made to dissolve in your intestine so you won’t experience the flavor later. Don’t miss out on the benefits of Omega 3’s in your diet! Even if you don’t have depression it is an important nutrient for your body.
Green Tea- This herb has several beneficial properties. For this article it is important to note that it helps with easing anxiety symptoms. If you need caffeine Green Tea can be a better option than coffee because it is less likely to make you jittery.
Cinnamon- This delicious spice can help your body metabolize sugar. You can take it in pill form or just shake some on your oatmeal or put some in your coffee.
Fruits and Veggies- Believe it or not you can take your veggies in a pill. For those of you who just can’t seem to get your veggies into your diet take them in a pill or powder. A company called Juice+ has these supplements, whole foods or other health food markets have them as well.
So hopefully this helps to improve your mental health and lead to better moods. If we are all in a better mood than this place is a more pleasant place to live. Take better care of yourself and your family and friends will thank you.
Blessings to you, Gretchen