Don’t be HANGRY!!

Jayanti Krishnan

Do you experience mood swings? Are you irritated often? Do you feel tired most of the times?

If the answer to the above questions is yes, then it is time you dive deep into what is causing it. Invariably, you would observe that it is linked to your food intake and diet pattern.

Research has shown that there is a strong correlation between our mood and food.

Every aspect of our lives is controlled by our brain – our thoughts, movements, breathing, heartbeat, senses etc. Hence, it is important to take good care of the brain and fuel it like we fuel our cars. It is a fact that the food you eat influences your physiology as well as how you feel and think to a large extent. For this reason, what we eat and how we eat is not only important for people looking to lose weight, but also for those of us looking to live with more vitality and energy.

If we can bring in a little discipline and planning in what we eat, we can largely control our mood (at least 50% of the times!).

Here are the simple tips that I can provide from my experience.               

Rule 1: Eat regularly and stick to your schedule – This is the most important rule. We should define an eating routine for ourselves and stick to it. Developing any new habit takes time and effort, whether it is waking up early, sticking to an exercise routine or learning to eat healthier and maintain a rewarding eating schedule. However, there are tips and ways to stick to your diet that can make your journey a lot less frustrating and a whole lot easier. Hence write down your eating schedule and no matter what – eat only during those times. If anyone offers anything else randomly, you have a choice to save it for later (during your eating time) or eat a minute portion at that time or politely say no!

Balance your meal

Rule 2: Plan a balanced diet – This is exactly like planning a project. Plan your weekly meals as well. In order to do so, the first step is to observe and note down what you eat and what your mood patterns are for a week. Based on the observations, prepare a meal plan with the right amount of Proteins/ Vitamins/ Calcium/ Fruits/ Veggies/ Nuts/ Fiber etc. It is like preparing baselines and monitoring them against the actual progress. Start implementing it, and after a week find out the deviations and do a Root Cause Analysis. If needed, you can consult a nutritionist and prepare an eating calendar for yourself. I say from personal experience, it works!

Rule 3: Increase your liquid intake – As far as possible include lots of liquids in your diet like water, juices, soups etc. It helps to flush the toxins from the body. In fact, once a month you can go on a liquid diet for a day. Top three advantages of this are weight loss, increased metabolism and released toxins from the body.

Choose the food that suits you

Rule 4: Never eat when you are upset – Emotional eating does not satisfy your physical need. It only helps to calm you mentally, which is certainly not a healthy practice. We do not really think clearly when we are angry and as they say, we must avoid doing anything while the anger still persists. We must also not eat our meal when we are angry.

Rule 5: Identify your intolerance – You may observe that certain food do not suit you. They lead to a bloated tummy or allergies in the mouth or skin. Be watchful and ensure you stay away from them.

Many people don’t have time to eat until they are just so hungry that they have to eat something, and eventually make very poor nutritional choices. For instance, people may grab fast food and eat it in the car on the way to their next meeting or to pick up their kids. Then, when they have trouble sleeping later that evening or experience mood swings, they assume it is related to their feelings of anxiety, thus overlooking any possible connection to food.

And here is what I would recommend as good mood food items. Do give them a try in your diet. You will see that it works wonders.

  1. Fruits and Vegetables – An apple a day keeps the doctor away (and the psychiatrist too!). As noted, fruits and vegetables have been linked to higher levels of happiness. They can be consumed as it is or in the form of juices.
  2. Omega-3 Fatty Acids – Found in foods like fish and nut oils, this keeps your mood levels high. Low Omega-3 fatty acids have been correlated to depression and impulsivity.
  3. Chocolate – Dark chocolate have properties that improve mood and even reduce tension. But remember to eat in moderation!

*All images used in this article are either Eyra’s own design or widely and freely available on the internet.*

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