How Foods Can Balance Mood & Energy In The Day

by Isadora Baum, CHC

What we eat can certainly affect our moods, and it's important to be mindful of how our bodies react to different ingredients so that we can stay balanced and positive each day. Since foods can balance our moods and energy levels, it's easy to go to a grocery store, purchase them, and incorporate into meals and snacks to reap the benefits. It's also worth noting which foods will lower our energy and kill our moods.

As a certified health coach, I work with clients on boosting mood and maintaining solid energy levels in the day in order to promote greater comfort, productivity, and happiness, as when we feel sluggish or have lower stores, we are more prone to anxiety and irritability. I know with myself at least, I get hungry and cranky when stressed out and when I do not have enough nutrients to balance my mood and perspective. Having more positivity in life is always a gift, and if foods can do enhance the sentiment (and they can), why not add some more into your meal choices? Here are 11 foods that can boost mood and energy in the day and should be consumed ASAP for great, long-lasting benefits.

1. Cinnamon

According to Keri Glassman, R.D. and founder of and The Nutrition School” over email with Bustle, cinnamon is a great spice to sprinkle on foods, as it can "decrease anxiety" and stabilize blood sugar levels. Consider adding to yogurts, veggies, oatmeal, fruits, and cheeses for an extra flavor burst and health benefits.

2. Grapefruit

Grapefruit, oranges, lemons, kiwis, melons, and berries (among other fruits!), all contain a lot of vitamin C, which according to Glassman, can boost mood and energy. "Vitamin C foods have been shown to help reduce stress," Glassman says. You can also get it in vegetables, such as yellow bell pepper, which is versatile and delicious.

3. Salmon

Having some oily fish, such as salmon, tuna, or mackerel, for an easy, nutritious lunch can help increase mood and energy in the day, especially when that dreaded afternoon slump hits around 3 or 4pm. "Omega 3s are great to help balance mood and energy, as they have been shown to improve mood. You can find Omega 3s in foods like salmon and walnuts," says Glassman.

4. Beans

"High fiber foods help stabilize your blood sugar, keeping your energy levels raised throughout the day," advises Glassman. A great option is beans, expresses Alicia Ward, VP of Marketing at Beanitos over email with Bustle. "Fiber-rich foods take longer to digest and can help you extend your energy boost from the complex carbs in beans – giving you sustained energy. Beans have a low glycemic index to prevent insulin from spiking, which can also keep your energy levels more constant," Ward says.

5. Lean Jerky

"Protein is an essential nutrient for maintaining energy but better yet, it boosts satiety – the feeling of fullness without the extra calories from carbs," advises Eugene Kang, CEO and Co-Founder of Country Archer Jerky Co, over email with Bustle. Kang recommends grass-fed beef, but jerky also comes in salmon, turkey, bison, buffalo, and other forms of lean, animal protein.

6. Leafy Greens

Adding in leafy greens can help detoxify the body, which will improve mood and energy levels and boost immunity, advises Andre Kroecher, co-founder of Daiya Foods over email with Bustle. "Incorporating more plant-based foods into your diet is known to aid in lowering inflammation in the body. According to Harvard Medical School, dark, leafy green like spinach, kale, and collards are chock-full of health benefits that boost your immune system and can fight inflammation," advises Kroecher.

7. Tea

"The L-theanine and GABA in tea have been known to be extremely effective at helping people stay calm," advises Simon Cheng, tea expert and founder and CEO of Pique Tea over email with Bustle. "L- theanine promotes relaxation without sedation, and helps the brain generate alpha waves and enter a state of mindfulness. GABA has a calming effect on the nervous system," further explains Cheng.

8. Healthy Fats

Eating healthy fats, found in oils, such as olive oil, can reduce inflammation and boost mood and energy levels, explains Ashlea Braun, registered dietitian at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center over email with Bustle."Research also indicates that following a Western style diet (lots of meat, fried foods, refined grains, and minimal fruits and vegetables) can negatively affect our mood, whereas a dietary pattern such as the Mediterranean Diet (rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, healthy oils, with small amounts of meat, fish, and dairy) can improve our mood," Braun explains.

9. Whole Grains

According to Liz Weinandy, RD at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center over email with Bustle, eating whole grains can balance mood and energy levels. As a recommended daily menu, Weinandy suggests, "for breakfast think whole grain English muffin with 2 tablespoons of a nut butter on it, lunch can be a sandwich with whole grain bread, lean protein like pork loin and a large serving of veggies and a piece of fruit. Mid afternoon, have a piece of fruit with a cheese stick or some low sugar Greek yogurt and dinner should follow the same pattern as lunch."

10. Water

When our bodies are dehydrated, we're prone to fatigue, unstable mood, and low energy stores, explains CEO of Kona Deep, Patrick Turpin over email with Bustle. "When our bodies are dehydrated we can experience symptoms that range from dizziness and headaches to muscle cramps and dry skin. Providing our bodies with the right kind of fluids help us to stay healthy, whole, and chemically balanced," says Turpin. "Refueling and replenishing our bodies with the natural electrolytes and the minerals we need is essential to the function of our cells and organs which make up the entirety of our body," Turpin adds, and recommends water that is pure and packed with electrolytes.

11. Watermelon

Watermelon is a great option for beating fatigue and boosting mood during the day, as it is high in water content to ward off dehydration and balance electrolyte levels, explained Jim White, R.D., owner of Jim White Fitness in Virginia over interview with Men's Fitness. Have watermelon plain as a snack, drink in a juice or smoothie, or combine with feta, mint, tomatoes, and cantaloupe for a refreshing light lunch or side.

When you feel your energy getting low, pick up one of these foods or drinks to replenish stores and feel invigorated. It's important to utilize your day to its fullest, being the most productive and energetic you can be, so if you notice you're feeling fatigued, cranky, or just not like yourself, take a moment to have a snack and bounce back.

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