Chew on Happiness: How Your Diet Can Boost Your Mood and Spark Creativity

Did you know that your food choices can significantly impact not only your physical health but also your mood, creative thinking, and overall mental outlook? Consuming the right types of food can boost your feelings of passion, increase self-confidence, and lift your spirits. However, consuming unhealthy, processed foods can do just the opposite, leading to feelings of sluggishness, decreased focus, and a dampened mood. Keeping this in mind, choose and chew wisely.

The Food-Thought Connection

We all have our favorite comfort foods that make us feel instantly happy, usually high in sugar and fat. In times of stress and hunger, these are the foods we reach for to provide quick relief. While satisfying at first, the aftermath leaves us feeling sluggish and drained, both physically and mentally. A sugar crash is inevitable, leaving you craving a nap and lowering your mood.

Consistently eating poorly can significantly dull your mental focus and creativity. Consuming “dead” and lifeless foods lacking essential micronutrients can cause your mood to spiral downward, disrupt your self-confidence, and dampen your passions. An example can be found in refined sugar, documented in William Dufty’s book, Sugar Blues, which discusses how refined sugar contributes to depression and personality changes, amongst other health issues.

How Sugar Affects Children

Refined sugar has an even more significant impact on children, with research published in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, linking refined sugar consumption to hyperactivity, anxiety, distractibility, and irritability in kids. For children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), refined sugar worsens their symptoms, according to the Journal of Pediatrics. A report in Neuroscience even demonstrates that refined sugar reduces learning capacity.

Processed foods containing preservatives or dyes can also negatively impact a child’s mental and emotional health. Food dyes, especially FD&C Yellow No. 5 (tartrazine) and FD&C Red No. 3, are particularly problematic. Chemical preservatives and refined foods build up and cause the body difficulty in the assimilation of natural nutrients. One study found that hyperactive children showed reliable improvements in behavior when artificial colors, flavors, chocolate, monosodium glutamate, preservatives, and other substances like sugar or dairy were eliminated from their diets. This elimination also improved issues like bad breath and night awakenings and made it easier for children to fall asleep.

Striving for Balance

The key to a balanced and positive mood is in consuming nutrient-dense foods on a consistent basis. When you are in tune with your body and its needs, you will find yourself craving more fruits and vegetables, prepared with flavorful spices and dressings. For satisfying your sweet tooth, try incorporating fruits into smoothies or plain yogurt, with stevia as a sweetener. These foods will not leave you with a mental or physical letdown.

When analysing your diet and its impacts on your mood, consider the micronutrient content of your meals. Fruits and vegetables contain the most abundant supply of micronutrients critical to your overall mental health. Evaluate how much raw and whole food you are incorporating into your daily meals. If less than 50% of your diet is comprised of these foods, there is room for improvement.

Start by paying attention to how you feel after consuming whole foods, and notice the difference in your mood. Foods high in micronutrients may positively impact all aspects of your life, including your relationships. Commit to improving your happiness and health by making wise food choices that provide you the essential nutrients you need to energize your body and boost your mood.