Foods Recommended By Experts To Balance Mood Swings
Majority of the research on food and mood focuses on the possibility of using nutrition to combat depression and anxiety. However, there have been other studies that have tried to establish a connection between mood swings in premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Some of the symptoms of PMS that deals with mood include anxiety, irritability, and depression.
Although several studies have made attempts to figure out how exactly mood can affect food, the major challenge that researchers face is the realization that there are lots of factors that are involved in mood besides food and no experimental design has been able to study the impact of food on mood in isolation of all the other factors.
In an interview with Elite Daily, a certified diabetes educator, Haley Hughes, mentioned that the major reason why many people fail to get the full benefit of food is that they are inconsistent with following a balanced diet. Unlike medication, the benefit of diet can take months or years to manifest.
Certain Foods Act As Mood Stressors Or Supporters
Samantha Heller, a senior clinical nutritionist at the New York University compares mood to a chemical set noting that if your entire system is balanced chemically, your mood will be too.
Anemia, predominantly in women, leads to fatigue and depression. Heller also noted that majority of adults lack enough of the B vitamins. A study conducted in 2010 reported that women with a higher intake of B vitamins – riboflavin and thiamin – are less likely to experience the symptoms of PMS. It has been discovered that Riboflavin is a precursor for the generation of serotonin, a neurochemical that plays a significant role in mood, depression, sleep, appetite, and migraine.
Certain foods have been identified as’ mood stressors’ and they include alcohol, caffeine, chocolate, and sugar while ‘mood supporters’ have been identified to include fruits, vegetables, oil-rich fish, and water. In a research among mental health group in England, the 200 participants were told to cut down their mood stressors and increase their mood supporter intake.
Out of the 200 participants in this study, 88% reported an improvement in their mental health. Furthermore, twenty-six percent of the participants reported fewer mood swings, anxiety, and panic attacks. Only twenty-four percent experienced less depression.
Chemicals That Control Mood
The mood is controlled by chemicals called neurotransmitters found in the brain particularly serotonin. Serotonin control different types of mood including irritability, energetic, spacey, or tired. These chemicals run on low glycemic carbohydrates which you are not likely to get from snacks. Foods rich in low glycemic carbs include beans, whole grain bread, apples, soy, whole grain crackers, and fruits.
Low levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) have been linked to anxiety. The precursor needed for the synthesis of this GABA is thiamin. Food rich in thiamine includes yogurt, milk, soy beverages, cottage cheese, spinach, almonds, and eggs.
The importance of keeping up with the daily calcium requirements should not also be ignored. There are few clinical trials that have shown that women who consume as much as one thousand to one thousand two hundred milligrams of calcium daily for a duration of 3 months experienced improvement in mood swings. Important sources of calcium are plain yoghurt, cheese, soy beverages, sardines with bones and broccoli.
When To Eat Comfort Foods?
Comfort foods are considered a quick fix. They include snacks and drinks laced with sugar that can provide you with a burst of energy. While carbohydrates improve mood by slowly releasing energy to the brain, it is ok to resort to comfort foods if your neurotransmitters have gone off balance, according to an assistant professor and dietetics at St. Louis University, Joy Short. However, it has to be done in moderation.
Short noted that ice cream is the preferred comfort food by men and women followed by chocolate and pizza for women and men respectively. According to her, when you choose comfort foods, try as much as possible to make it nutritional. For example, choose low-fat ice cream or oatmeal raisin rather than the regular cookies.
In as much as a healthy diet is the best therapy for balancing mood swings, a supplement can be helpful. For example, it has been found that a 100 mg supplement of B6 daily lowers overall PMS symptoms. When you resort to supplements be careful at the dosage because too much can become toxic.