Which popular foods can influence our mood?
Sugar: Throughout the day we sometimes experience sugar lows, when our blood sugar level drops, leaving us feeling tired, irritable and maybe even a little down, and so we crave sugary foods. These cravings can then encourage us to reach for sugary snacks which will provide a temporary spike in blood sugar levels and therefore a temporary increase in mood.
The reason that this change is only temporary is because chocolate, for example, releases sugar quickly into our blood as it is easy for our body to digest, therefore we have a sudden surge in our blood sugar levels. However this sugar does not remain in the blood for long as it is soon used as energy, meaning blood sugar levels drop again.
Which is why it is important to reach for foods that will prolong the increase in blood sugars by releasing sugars slowly over a longer period of time, making sugary cravings less frequent.
So opt for an apple instead of a chocolate bar, muesli instead of frosted flakes, brown bread instead of white bread, and your blood sugars will be raised for a longer period of time, as well as your mood being lifted for longer too.
Caffeine: drinking caffeine containing foods and drinks shortly before going to bed can cause disturbed sleep, resulting in tiredness the following day. Also for those who rely heavily on caffeine, if the body experiences a considerable time period with no caffeine intake, mood can drop, causing increased irritability. For this reason alone reducing regular caffeine intake is advisable, however this should be done gradually to allow the body time to adjust to a lower intake as well as reducing caffeine's effects on mood.