Many of us do not realize that feelings of exhaustion, stress and irritability can be directly tied to the food choices we make. A survey of more than 2,000 Canadians indicated that while 77% of respondents believed a balanced diet was beneficial for their mental and physical wellbeing, 40% admitted that stress often caused them to make unhealthy food choices. Resisting these negative occurrences and stabilizing our moods are actually easier than one might realize by applying these simple strategies and techniques:
1. Eat/snack regularly
Mood swings are often caused by fluctuating blood sugar levels. So, whether you’re someone who feels better eating five small meals a day or three bigger ones, adopt a consistent eating schedule. Do not fall into the trap of fasting during the day only to binge eat in the evening when your digestive system is slowing down. Schedule time to eat breakfast and lunches. Minimize your caffeine intake, which can often be another cause of skipping meals.
2. Include healthy proteins & fats in every meal
All carbohydrates inevitably break down into glucose (or sugar). There’s nothing wrong with this given that our bodies use this form of fuel very efficiently, but the slower glucose is broken down and absorbed into our cells, the less mood swings we will likely experience. Ingesting healthy forms of plant-based protein: edamame, lentils, tofu, and tempeh, plus good fats: nuts, seeds, avocados, and coconut oil all assist the breaking down process.
3. Up your fibre intake
Fibre is the part of the plant that our bodies cannot digest, which means fibre is great at slowing the rate at which sugar is broken down and absorbed. Beans, broccoli, peas, berries, and avocados are just some of the high-fibre, nutrient-dense foods that make great additions to your diet.
4. Swap coffee for matcha
Matcha is a potent, powdered form of green tea that not only contains caffeine, but also L-Theanine — an amino acid that promotes calmness and clarity. Matcha provides a noticeable hit of alertness without the jitters that come with a cup of joe.
5. Avoid sugar
You’d be absolutely shocked at the number of foods that sneakily pack a sugar punch. Granola bars, flavoured yogurts, “healthy” cereals, protein bars, condiments, savoury sauces (and so much more) … all contain disastrous amounts of sugar that will inevitably make you feel moody and unbalanced. Your best bet is to eat whole foods that contain as few ingredients as possible and are minimally processed.