The link between food and mood
by Hugo Jones on May 30, 2021
How does food affect your mood?
Your brain works hard 24-7. It’s the control centre of your body, and the repository of your memories and emotions. It needs fuel. And lots of it.
Although the human brain weighs only 2 percent of the body mass, it requires a continuous supply of glucose. It consumes a staggering 120 g daily, an approximate energy input of 420 kcal (1760 kJ) - 60% of the utilization of glucose by the whole body in the resting state.
But can the food you feed it make the difference between a good and a bad day? In recent years, the relationship between nutrition and mental health have gained considerable interest…..
Are food and mood linked?
In 2020 the British Medical Journal published an article suggesting ‘Poor nutrition may be a causal factor in the experience of low mood, and improving diet may help to protect not only the physical health but also the mental health of the population’
If you've ever found yourself reaching for the biscuits after a bad day, you’ll know that food and mood are linked. Stress eating is a recognised phenomenon. But, recently studies also suggest a bi-directional link between healthy nutrition and psychological health. Like an expensive car, your brain functions best when it gets only premium fuel.
Can food can cause anxiety?
Glycaemic index (GI) ranks carbohydrate in foods according to the speed at which they are digested, absorbed, metabolised, and ultimately affect blood glucose and insulin levels. As well as the obvious physical health risks, diets with a high GI, such as those containing high amounts of refined carbohydrates and sugars, may also have a detrimental effect on psychological wellbeing. This can also promote inflammation and oxidative stress
We can’t deny those biscuits will give you an instant mood lift, but give it a few hours and you’re most likely to feel worse, especially once the sugar high wears off and the irritability and fatigue sets in.
What foods help mood?
Whilst there are no magic foods, quick fixes or special diets that will have you immediately skipping around like Julie Andrews - making healthy choices throughout the day, every day, will help to support your mood, as well as reducing depressive symptoms and your risk of depression.
Research has observed that sticking to a healthy or Mediterranean diet —high consumption of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes; moderate consumption of poultry, eggs, and dairy products; and only occasional consumption of red meat—could be associated with a significant 25% - 35% reduced risk of depression.
Foods to make you feel good
The good news is that certain foods have the power to ease anxiety and help fight depression. Fresh berries, bananas, oats, and even chocolate (yes, chocolate, it contains theobromine, a compound that may affect mood!), are not only tasty, but may help to improve your mood.
Making sure you get your daily serving of NGX BodyFuel, will also fuel you with enough protein to help stabilise blood sugar levels (no more getting hangry) and boost the neurotransmitters in the brain which are linked with well-being.
Check out our three favourite brain-healthy NGX smoothies to help promote a positive mood and put a smile on your face.
Blissful Blueberry Smoothie
Beyond its colourful exterior, this smoothie is both nourishing and calming thanks to its combination of selenium-rich brazil nuts, bananas, which are rich in mood-boosting tryptophan and B6, as well as tahini, which is made from the whole sesame seed, and one of the best vegetarian sources of zinc, a mineral that has been linked to depression and anxiety. Blueberries are also rich in flavonoids, which according to researchers can play a key role in promoting positive mood and potentially preventing low mood.
To make you will need:
1 Frozen banana
Handful of fresh or frozen blueberries
1 x scoop NGX BodyFuel
1 x scoop of NGX SuperBerry flavour
250ml Almond milk
3 Brazil nuts
1 tablespoon Tahini
Splash of vanilla essence
Pinch of Himalayan sea salt
Add all ingredients to a high-speed blender and blend on high until smooth and creamy.
Pour into a glass and serve immediately.
Cheerful Coffee and Chocolate Smoothie
This recipe combines two of our favourite things here at Team NGX; coffee and chocolate. This protein packed smoothie will not only satisfy a sweet tooth, the coffee is also a natural simulant that has been found to have a positive effect on your mood and alertness, whilst the chocolate contains chemicals that can help regulate stress.
A sprinkle of cinnamon will also help balance out your blood sugar levels, which not only help to prevent sugar highs but can improve concentration and focus .
To make you will need:
1 frozen banana
1 x scoop of NGX BodyFuel
1 x scoop Cacao and Coconut
Mug of cool coffee
100g vanilla yogurt
Splash vanilla extract
A square (or two) of dark chocolate
A sprinkle of cinnamon
Simply add all the ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.
Pour into a glass then finish by grating a square of dark chocolate on top and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
Greens On-The-Go smoothie
Spinach also contains plenty of zinc, B vitamins and selenium, a compound that may help fight depression. This green goddess is also rich in the beneficial bacteria Lactobaccilus and Bifidobacteria, which according to research can have a positive effect on brain health.
The pineapple also contains vanillin, which is known to be an effective mood enhancer, responsible for satisfaction and good mood.
You will need;
1 scoop NGX BodyFuel
Handful of spinach
Handful of kale
½ pineapple (chopped in to cubes and no skin)
1 tbsp. Greek or Plain yoghurt
250ml coconut water
Handful of ice
Put all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.