Certain foods can influence our moods and wellbeing, so it's important to take note of what you are eating and to choose wisely when opting for a snack during the workday. Because there are foods that mess with our moods, diet plays a critical role in impacting how productive, energized, and emotionally regulated we can be, as explained by experts at WebMD.
As a certified health coach, I work with clients on balancing their emotions and feeling more in control of their feelings and behaviors. When our mood is out of whack, it can be hard to concentrate on work tasks or to stay optimistic and levelheaded; thus, eating to fuel our bodies and minds should be of top priority. A compromised mood can alienate others, as most people don't enjoy being around negativity, and it can make us feel bad about ourselves or surroundings. When our quality of life is in jeopardy each day due to a sour mood, it can build over time to severely impact our general health and happiness. Here are 11 foods to avoid in order to have a peppier mood now, as these sneaky and prevalent offenders can mess with our emotions in unfortunate ways.
If you're into baking wholesome cupcakes made with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, go for it; yet, the generic cupcake you might find at a local coffee shop, bakery, or grocery store is often laden with sugar and fat. "Foods high in sugar can cause a sugar high then crash — making you feel lethargic and irritable," says Keri Glassman, R.D., founder of NutritiousLife.com and The Nutrition School, over email with Bustle.
"Foods high in caffeine may mess with your mood, as too much caffeine can cause anxiety and disrupt sleep, which leads to irritability," expresses Glassman. Thus, trading in coffee for decaf, herbal tea, or standard water (maybe try adding in fresh fruit or herbs for extra flavor!), could help stabilize mood and energy levels. If you notice any side effects from coffee consumption, a trade might be worth it!
3. A Bag Of Chips
While making your own kale or sweet potato chips at home, with olive oil, herbs, and seasonings, can be tasty and healthy, standard, packaged, chips are highly processed and can be filled with unhealthy additives, advises Glassman. "They are often high in trans fats, which have been linked to depression. These fats cause inflammation which can occur in the brain and may be part of the reason for this," Glassman warns.
While dairy does not affect all people in mood-busting ways, it can mess with mood and energy levels in some people, explains Andre Kroecher, co-founder of Daiya Foods over email with Bustle. "A recent study published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine identified foods that are processed and high in fat, including cheese and other dairy-based foods, are associated with addictive eating behaviors," says Kroecher. "Limiting your intake of highly-processed, fatty and dairy-filled foods, and opting for more plant-based alternatives, may help minimize diet-induced mood changes," Kroecher advises.
5. Soy Sauce
Apparently gluten could mess with your mood, making you less stable and more emotional. Gluten is found in many grain and bread products, packaged products, desserts, and even condiments, such as soy sauce. Purchase gluten-free to see if it makes a difference to mood. Such grains include quinoa, brown rice, and buckwheat.
According to a study published in the journal Critical Care Nurse by Mary G. McKinley, RN, and reported in Livestrong, drinking alcohol can induce mood swings that can make us less productive and in control of our emotions during the day. Instead of always attending happy hour or having wine with lunch, opt for water, tea, or juice to mix it up and keep emotions in check.
7. Sugary Cereal
Starting the day off with a balanced breakfast can lead to a balanced mood, explains Dr. Lisa Ashe, Medical Director of BeWell Medicine, over email with Bustle. "Eating a surgery or unhealthy breakfast can make you sluggish as it leads to sugar crashes," Ashe advises, and "an unhealthy breakfast runs a higher chance of irritability or restlessness, decrease in concentration, and makes you more likely to overeat throughout the day."
8. French Fries
I know, French fries are delicious, but unfortunately they're often loaded with trans fats, grease, and sodium. If you bake your own, it could make for a delicious and healthy side; however, a standard burger and fries won't make the cut for a hearty, nutritious meal. Swap for a salad, fruit, or homemade version in order to reduce trans fat intake.
9. Canned Goods
According to certified nutritionist Trudy Scott, author of The Antianxiety Food Solution over interview with Eat This, Not That!, canned goods, such as soups, vegetables in oils, and other processed foods, can be high in sodium, additives, and fats and sugars that can then mess with our moods. Make your own soup with wholesome ingredients for better mood states!
10. Chinese Takeout
While Chinese takeout is not directly mentioned, it is a prime candidate for a high fat, sugar, and salty dish, and Cynthia Sass, registered dietician, explained over interview with Shape that such components to meals can wreak havoc on mood levels and energy. Thus, skipping the takeout when you're able to cook a homemade meal could be beneficial for your emotional state.
Soda is incredibly high in sugar, as well as artificial sweeteners, and it can negatively influence mood in the day, as explained by Chris Iliades, MD over interview with Everyday Health. Iliades explained how stress can cause us to turn to sweets, and how eating sugary foods and drinks can lead to poorer mental health, as well. Swap for water or tea for a better afternoon sip.
If you notice your mood is negative or unstable in the day, avoiding these foods and choosing healthier, mood-boosting foods could help you feel better and more in control of your emotions. Being more positive will create more balance in life, so it's smart to fuel right in order to reap major results.
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