How does food affect your mood?

Dec 04, 2019

The alarm goes off. You jump in the shower, get dressed, wake the children and go and prepare the breakfast.  You pack the lunches, make sure homework is in, find the missing shoes, pants, hairbrush, etc, check your phone, butter toast, put on a wash, check the time and finally leave the house.  After dropping the children off, you head to work. Big breath in, you realise all you have had this morning was a cup of coffee. No time to stop though, you keep going.

Sound a little familiar? This was me a few years ago, 4 out of 5 mornings a week. My day started with a coffee and sometimes I would not eat until mid-morning, when I usually have a headache anyway. More times than not, I would have a scone and another coffee, very rarely a healthy choice.

My lunch was usually healthy, but could be closer to 3pm some days before I would be able to eat. By the time I picked up my children, unpacked the bags, took out the washing, put on the dinner, finished off work reports from the day, did the rest of the million and one things, I was fit for nothing. What I was doing to myself was the equivalent of running my car without putting any petrol in the tank. I started most days with an empty tank and tried to drive my body without any fuel in it to do everything I needed to do.

What I understand now is the link between food and our mood plays a huge part in how we manage stress. When you get stressed, your body produces sugar to provide extra energy. When the sugar levels get too high, insulin is produced to deal with this and sugar levels fall. You start to feel tired, hungry; you may get headaches and feel shaky.  All of this affects how you feel and how productive you are. Unfortunately this is usually the time you reach for the chocolate biscuit or bar and up go the sugar levels again.  Your body gets very unstable when this happens all the time and can lead to diabetes. To prevent this happening, eating regular meals at regular time’s keeps sugar levels balanced and your energy up so there is always something in the tank when you need it.

  One of the problems with our modern society and diet is that food is too easy and we go for this kind of food without giving it much thought when we are busy. Usually these convenient foods are full of sugar, additives and not great for the balanced diet we all need. I am not an expert in food, but I do know simple, balanced meals should be as natural as possible and include a variety of whole foods that can be cooked daily or taken out of the freezer for next day’s dinner.  Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with fish fingers or a take away  every so often, but the evidence is very strong now in terms of what we eat determines how we feel and what we are physically able to do. Having available healthy snacks during the day can help with any hunger pangs when you are on the go.

I am sure you know a lot of this already and maybe you have learned something about why you feel the way you do. Preparation and planning your meals to take you through the week is a great place to start. Making it a priority to have three regular meals every day and have your snack ready to eat if it’s not possible on one of those days.  Your body should be a priority and so should what you put into it so you can get the most out of it. Don’t kick yourself if it doesn’t work out every day, simply start again the next day.

Become a priority in your life “You can’t pour from an empty cup, take care of yourself first”

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