Sep 27, 2023

The Relationship Between Food and Mood

Crisp Living.

We all know the unmistakable feeling. It’s the modern-day phenomenon known as “hangry” — when you feel as though you just can’t go another moment without eating something!

In addition to its effects on our physical health, food also contributes to our mental and emotional well-being. A person’s mood, energy level, and cognitive function can be influenced by what they eat. In today’s Crisp Living blog, we break down all of the ways that our food and our mood are interconnected.

Nutrient Balance

A well-balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats, can help maintain stable blood sugar levels and provide the necessary building blocks for neurotransmitters, which are chemicals that regulate mood. When our bodies receive the appropriate nutrients, we are more likely to feel emotionally balanced.

Blood Sugar Levels

Consuming foods with a high glycemic index (e.g., sugary snacks and refined carbohydrates) can lead to rapid spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels. These fluctuations can result in mood swings, irritability, and fatigue.

Serotonin Production

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that plays a crucial role in regulating mood. Foods rich in tryptophan, an amino acid, can help boost serotonin levels. These foods include turkey, nuts, seeds, and dairy products.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fatty fish (like salmon and mackerel), flaxseeds, and walnuts, have been linked to improved mood and reduced risk of depression. They help reduce inflammation in the brain, which can be a factor in mood disorders.


Antioxidant-rich foods like fruits and vegetables can help protect the brain from oxidative stress and inflammation. This protection may contribute to better mood and cognitive function.


Dehydration can lead to feelings of fatigue and irritability. Staying adequately hydrated is essential for maintaining good mood and cognitive function.

Caffeine and Alcohol

While moderate consumption of caffeine may enhance alertness and mood temporarily, excessive intake can lead to anxiety and disrupt sleep patterns. Alcohol can also have a depressant effect on the central nervous system and can negatively affect mood.

Food Sensitivities

Some individuals may have food sensitivities or allergies that can manifest as mood disturbances. Common culprits include gluten, dairy, and certain food additives.

Mindful Eating

The act of eating mindfully, paying attention to the sensory experience of eating, can promote a positive relationship with food and reduce stress, which in turn can enhance mood.

Social and Cultural Aspects

Sharing meals with loved ones and experiencing culturally significant foods can have a positive impact on mood and emotional well-being, fostering a sense of connection and belonging.

It’s important to note that the relationship between food and mood is complex and individualized. What works for one person may not work for another. Additionally, long-term dietary patterns can have a more significant impact on mood than occasional food choices.

Therefore, adopting a balanced and varied diet and paying attention to how different foods affect your mood can be a crucial step in promoting mental and emotional well-being. If you have concerns about your mood or dietary choices, consulting your Crisp Regional nutritionist is a great start!

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