Meals and moods

 
By Carrie Johnson Weimar • Published: March 14th, 2008
Category: Health in a Heartbeat
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Some people eat when they’re nervous. Others chow down when they’re depressed or tired. But did you know that what you eat can affect your mood? By watching what you eat, you can boost concentration, soothe jangled nerves or counteract a stressful day.

For example, let’s say you’re restless because you have a big presentation coming up tomorrow but you need to get to sleep if you’re going to be sharp on the big day. Scientists recommend you eat non-fat popcorn a half hour before bed. Why? Because the carbohydrates in the popcorn help induce serotonin, a neurochemical that makes you feel relaxed.

Perhaps you have a big deadline coming up. Grab a handful of sesame seeds to boost your magnesium levels, which will increase your stress-coping abilities and cut down on your risk of developing high blood pressure.

If problems at home have you down, scientists recommend you try to get more fish in your diet. A study in Finland found that people who eat more fish are thirty-one percent less likely to suffer from depression. They also suggest avoiding sweets… the inevitable sugar crash will make you feel worse.

Try adding berries to your cereal in the morning or snack on some pineapple if you’ve been having memory troubles lately. Colorful fruits are rich in antioxidants, which ward off the free radicals that can hurt your memory.

Of course, the most important thing to remember is to eat a balanced diet, rich in fruits and vegetables.