Which comes first, your mood or the food?
Your emotional state has a lot to do with your weight. If you are happy — really happy, not just on-the-surface, pretend happy — you are more likely to be leaner.
As people lose weight, their mood improves.
As their mood improves they cut their risk in half for everything from heart disease to diabetes, because they are more motivated to take better care of themselves.
Happiness lowers our stress hormones, such as cortisol. Lower stress means we sleep better, think more clearly and have more energy, which are all factors that help with weight loss and happiness.
Additionally, people with sunny outlooks are more likely to choose healthy foods which in turn fuels their good mood.
They are less likely to get sick, they recover quickly if they do get sick and they live longer than people who are either depressed and/or overweight.
It works in reverse too. People who choose foods known to improve their mood find it easier to lose weight, cope with stress and sleep better.
However, when people are overweight, they may feel sluggish, unattractive, tired and depressed.
They turn to unhealthy foods to soothe the dark clouds, which adds more weight and stress and disrupts their sleep and mood even further.
Studies have shown that poor sleep habits also increase the risk for being overweight by up to 70 per cent.
The foods we eat can do much more than nourish the body. Certain foods have the ability to boost energy, improve mood and make us feel perky.
Arming yourself with knowledge will ease the impact of foods on mood and empower you to be more proactive in your health maintenance.
As we approach Daylight Saving Time, where the days get longer and we lose an hour of sleep, let’s look at a few foods that boost our energy and impact our physical and mental health.
Spinach and other green vegetables contain the B vitamin folate. The B vitamins that are found in leafy greens affect, and can positively impact, your mood. Edamame, artichokes and turnip greens are a few excellent choices.
Whether you’re seriously depressed or simply in a bad mood, eating salmon, tuna, halibut, flaxseeds and other foods high in omega-3 fatty acids just might help you feel better. These essential minerals reduce inflammation and boost levels of serotonin and dopamine playing a critical role in our memory and mood.
Chickpeas, kidney beans and other legumes can help stabilise blood glucose levels, helping you avoid energy slumps.
This doesn’t mean your largest Cadbury bar! Find your favourite bar that has 70 per cent dark chocolate, which has antioxidants that help reduce stress hormones. For reference, about 1½ ounces packs enough power to boost your mood.
Almonds, pecans and walnuts contain calcium, which can help offset hormonal imbalances in women as well as alleviate symptoms of anxiety, depression, irritability and impaired memory. These nuts are also filled with fibre to help you stay fuller longer.
Berries are rich in flavonoid, which helps regulate mood, improve memory and reduces inflammation. They are packed with antioxidants that can help support brain function and also promote positive energy.
• Betty Doyling is a certified fitness trainer and figure competitor with more than a decade of experience. Look for B. ActiveForLife on Facebook
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