Download the pdf of the HYCS pocket guide 'Food and Mood' here.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet can really help in supporting our wellbeing in mind and body. A good diet contributes to us thinking more clearly, keeping calmer and feeling more positive. Read on to see how food could help to improve your mood!
Don’t miss meals; avoid letting blood sugar levels drop which could leave you feeling irritable, tired and down.
Pick positive, slow-release energy foods such as oats, proteins, nuts, wholegrains and seeds.
Limit sugary snacks and drinks
These may give you a quick energy boost but will fizzle out quickly and may lack vital nutrients.
Keep hydrated! Alongside the right foods, don’t forget to drink plenty of water which will help boost your concentration and reduce the risk of constipation!
Eat a rainbow!
Eating a selection of fruits and vegetables and of different colours will help to ensure you are getting a good mix of vitamins, minerals and fibre.
TIP: Eating raw or steamed fruits/veg will help to ensure you are getting the full benefit!
Eating the ‘right fats’ helps boost the brain – Omega 3 and 6, are found in oily fish (ie salmon/ tuna), nuts, olive/sunflower oil, seeds, poultry, avocados, eggs, cheese. Limit foods high in trans fats and partially hydrogenated oils – such as cookies and cakes.
Medications and food
If you are on medication, check to see if there are any foods to avoid.
Note – please always consult a professional such as your GP, a dietician or nutritionist if you are concerned about food and health or think you may have food intolerances!
Naturally protein-rich foods such as lean meat, eggs, fish, cheese, nuts/seeds and peas, beans and lentils, help both to control blood sugar levels and help your brain to manage thoughts and feelings.
Some food additives such as tartrazine and MSG and preservatives are known to affect mood.
Cut out the caffeine
Avoid caffeinated drinks (tea/coffee).
Digest before rest
Avoid eating heavy meals before bed which may give you indigestion and affect your sleep.
Stress-busting complex carbs
Slow release complex carbs such as oats and barley, wholegrain pasta and bread, naturally help to encourage the brain to produce the feel-good hormone serotonin.
If you feel you may be struggling with eating related issues it may be helpful to talk to someone who will listen and take your worries seriously.
• HYCS for free, confidential counselling support 020 8568 1818
• Visit your GP
• Beat Youthline 0808 801 0711
or Beat Studentline 0808 801 0811
Helpline support 24/7
• Childline 0800 1111 (24hr)
• Samaritans 116 123 (24hr)
• YoungMinds Crisis Messenger
Text YM to 85258 24/7 support