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You know food has an impact on your health, but did you realize that what you eat can also affect your mood? Megan Moore, R.D., L.D., CDE, a registered dietitian at Baylor Regional Medical Center at Plano, offers a few words of wisdom on the impact of food.
1. Don’t skip meals. “The most important thing is not going more than five hours without eating,” Moore says, “because that’s when we start getting irritable as a result of low blood sugar levels.”
When you feel a blood sugar dip, turn to high-fiber carbohydrates such as apples, oatmeal and beans to sustain you, Moore says. “High-sugar foods like candy and soda will raise your blood sugar—but will also drop it quickly.”
2. Eat more salmon. “Omega-3s may help elevate mood,” Moore says, citing several studies that have shown that people with lower levels of omega-3s are more likely to report instances of depression. To get your fill of omega-3 fatty acids, eat foods like salmon, tuna and walnuts, or take a supplement, Moore says.
3. Monitor alcohol consumption. You might think alcohol is good for your mood. But be careful at happy hour. “In the long run, alcohol is actually a downer and can make you feel depressed,” Moore says.
4. Drink caffeine in moderation. “As long as you keep your caffeine consumption to eight to 16 ounces per day, caffeine is a beneficial mood lifter,” Moore says. “You can overdo it and become anxious and irritable, but caffeine is not a bad thing in moderation.”
5. Get your fill of dairy. “Vitamin D is good for your mood,” Moore says. “We normally get it from the sun, but you can also get it from food.” She suggests fortified milk, yogurt and cheese as well as salmon.
6. Up your folic acid. Being low in folic acid is linked to higher incidences of depression, Moore says. She suggests oranges, broccoli, orange juice and spinach to get your fill.
7. Allow for a splurge. “Everyone has a food that makes them feel happy,” Moore says. “There’s nothing wrong with that. But have it in moderation.”
At Baylor Plano, our registered, licensed dietitians can help you develop a healthy eating plan to achieve your goals. Learn more about our nutrition services.
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