Tips on How to Manage Mood with Food

Is it possible to manage mood with food?


I have previously written a blog post about the connection between food and mood. In this blog post, I wanted to discuss how you can manage your mood using food.


When it comes to PCOS, it is known that the food we eat affects our mood and the way we feel.

Women with PCOS are 3 times more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety than women without PCOS.


The Western Diet is composed of processed and refined foods and sugars, it is therefore not surprising that many people feel anxious, tired, sluggish and irritable.


Research is consistently showing how such a diet causes chronic inflammation in the body, which in turn leads to a hormone imbalance and many chronic diseases.



Tips on How to Manage Your Mood with Food


Feed your Gut right


While serotonin is manufactured in the brain, the majority of the body's serotonin, between 80-90%, can be found in the gastrointestinal tract. It can, therefore, be suggested that your gastrointestinal tract is not just involved in digesting food, but also has some effect on your emotions. Therefore, taking care of your gut is important to ensure production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin.


Start taking care of your gut and protect your gut's good bacteria. Your gut plays a bigger role in the body it is not just there to digest but to also control the level of inflammation in the body.


Consider fermented foods, such as Kombucha, Tempeh, Pickles, Miso and Kimchi. Similar to probiotics, these foods promote good bacteria in the gut, helping to maintain the lining of the gut, aids digestion, supports the immune system, controls inflammation. Moreover, probiotics can help improve our health or control pathogenic infections.


Studies have examined the effects of probiotics on our mental health. A study conducted by Huang et al. (2016) found that probiotics were associated with a significant reduction in depression. A further study in the journal of Annals of General Psychiatry also found a positive link between probiotics and alleviating depressive symptoms. However, studies conclude further research is required.

Reduce or Eliminate refined and processed carbohydrates


When we eat food our blood sugar increases and insulin from the pancreas is released. However, when we consume high-carbohydrates foods, refined or processed carbs high in sugar, our blood sugar levels rise and for a short period, and we feel great, but then it drops, and we crash, feeling tired and fatigued.


Many women with PCOS suffer from insulin resistance, this is where the cells in the body have trouble absorbing glucose, and as a result, there is a buildup of glucose in the blood. The glucose is in turn not being used for energy and is instead being stored as fat.


A better alternative would be to opt for low Glycemic Index carbohydrates which will not increase blood sugar levels, in turn, insulin. This will ensure both your mood and weight is managed.


Eat Healthy Fats


Avoid following extremely low fat diets. Studies show that the those who follow the Meditarannean Diet, which is high in healthy fats, have a 25% to 30% lower risk of depression.


Research has found but is constantly examining, the benefits of omega 3 and it's role in mental health. Several studies have found omega 3 results in improvements in mood and behaviour.


In a study of 106 healthy volunteers, conducted by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre, the researchers found that participants who had low levels of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids reported mild or moderate symptoms of depression, be impulsive and a more negative. While those with high levels of omega-3s were found to be more agreeable.


Eat enough Fibre


As I mentioned previously, the health of your gut has an effect on your mood. Dietary Fibre is a broad category of nondigestible food ingredients. There are two types of fibre, soluble and insoluble fibre. Both types of fibre are required for a healthy balanced diet. Soluble fibre is dissolved in the water in your digestive system. It is suggested that some types of soluble fibre can help lower the risk of heart disease and cholesterol. Insoluble fibre, on the other hand, dissolves and it passes through your gut without being broken down.


A common belief for the cause of certain neurogenerative diseases is chronic inflammation in the body. Dietary fibre appears to be anti-inflammatory. It is recommened that women consume 25g of fibre a day and men consume 30g per day.


Eat good quality protein


Firstly, when it comes to protein, ensure it is good quality protein.


If you do eat meat opt for Grass-fed meat, as is often "organic", naturally leaner and has not been exposed to many artificial hormones and high levels of antibiotics than standard meat.

Grass fed meat contain more omega - 3 than grain fed meat. Grain feeding causes the meat to lose it's omega 3 content. It can be suggested that the higher omega - 3 content in the grass-fed beef might be more “anti-inflammatory” than conventional grain-fed beef., most grass-fed beef is also “organic,” and hasn’t been exposed to a lot of artificial hormones and high levels of antibiotics.


Meal Timing


There is no set schedule of when you should eat, simply eat when you are hungry.

Feel free to skip meals. You do not have to eat breakfast. Let's say to woke up in the morning and you always have breakfast but on this day you were not hungry, that is fine. Breakfast is simply the first meal that you eat to break your fast. You do not have to eat your first meal as soon as you wake up, eat it when you are hungry.


Always eat when you are hungry. As I mentioned above when we eat our blood sugar levels rise in order for our body to be able to break down and digest the food. However, our blood sugar also causes mood changes when we are hungry too.


Think back to a time you were ravenous, you were really hungry for food. Do you remember how you felt? When we are hungry our blood sugar levels drop and this is why we feel moody, agitated, anxious and angry.




We all know sleep, but also most getting enough sleep is important as it can have an effect on the way we feel the next day.  While there is no meal timing, research does suggest foods you should eat and avoid before bed.


Sleep Promoters


Research has found eating foods that contain Tryptophan can help with sleep. Tryptophan is found in foods such as Turkey, and it is said to release serotonin helping you sleep.


Combine some wholegrains with a protein source like turkey, eggs. The carbohydrate-containing foods help the tryptophan-rich foods get absorbed by the brain.


Magnificent Magnesium. Magnesium has many roles in the body. You can find magnesium in dark leafy greens, avocados, nuts, seeds and wholegrains.

Conuming enough magnesium can help with sleep and insomnia. The way in which magnesium aids with sleep is, it regulates neurotransmitters, which send signals throughout the nervous system and brain. Furthermore, tt also regulates the hormone melatonin, which is deals with the our daily sleep-wake cycles.


Opt for Cherries. If you are looking for a sweet treat or snack before bed choose cherries. While they are a low GI fruit, which means they will increase your blood sugar levels, they are also said to be one of the few natural sources of melatonin, a hormone your body produces that’s often recommended as a sleep aid.


Sleep Stealers


Stop Drinking Caffeine at night


Research has shown that caffeine produces insomnia. A study found that it reduces slow-wave sleep in the early part of the sleep cycle  and can reduce rapid eye movement (REM) sleep later in the cycle. Caffeine raises your cortisol levels and therefore it is recommended that you avoid drinking caffeine after 11 or 12 o'clock as this can have an effect on your sleep. Researchers found that consuming high doses late in the evening can increase the time taken to fall asleep.


No to  high-fat foods

Avoid eating high-fat foods such as fried food or dairy before bed.  Fat takes a long time to digest, this will in turn keep your body awake while as a




Smith, A. (2002) Effect of Caffeine on Human Behaviour. Food and Chemical Toxicology. 40, 1243-1255.






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