Good mood food
Eating the right food can help to pick you up if you're feeling rough, and even prevent you from becoming ill.
A healthy, balanced diet is one of the basic foundations of general well being, and should protect you from nutritional deficiencies that can leave you feeling irritable, washed out, or really down.
To the rescue
If you're already feeling a bit unwell or vulnerable, try your hardest to eat healthy, regular meals. Keeping your blood sugar levels steady makes you more energetic and less lethargic, and may even boost serotonin levels in the brain. This is best done by eating starchy foods (bread, pasta, rice, potatoes), rather than large quantities of sweet stuff, because the easily absorbed sugar gives you an initial rush but is followed by a dip in levels. Eat something for breakfast, and don't skip meals.
Keep junk food to a minimum, because highly processed foods are often low in essential vitamins and minerals, which are needed to keep you and your nervous system in tip-top condition. That's not to say that the occasional treat is forbidden, so don't beat yourself up if you have the occasional plate of chips or bar of chocolate.
Loss of appetite
If you've lost your appetite and the problem has been going on for more than a day or two, you should seriously think about contacting your GP. At times like this, eating anything is better than eating nothing. A little 'sticky bun therapy' is in order, or whatever else you fancy, regardless of how unhealthy it is.
Snack on your favourite foods, whatever you crave. Get some energy into your system any way you can, or you risk getting into a state where you're too tired to look out for yourself properly.
If you are being prescribed drugs from the family of antidepressants known as MAOIs (monoamine oxidase inhibitors), you should avoid meat and yeast extracts (e.g. Bovril, Marmite), strong cheeses (e.g. cheddar, stilton), pate, pickled herring, and Chianti wine. This is because they contain tyramine, a naturally occurring chemical that can dangerously interact with the drugs you are taking.
If you are perfectly well, and want to make sure you stay that way, make sure you're getting all the nutrients you need to keep body and soul together.
- Prevent anaemia, which causes fatigue and difficulty concentrating. This common condition is usually caused by lack of iron, which is found in meat, green veg (such as peas and spinach), pulses, and eggs.
- Deficiency of B vitamins can lead to lack of energy and depression. Make sure you're getting enough by eating leafy green veg, meat, fortified breakfast cereal, marmite, and wholemeal bread.
- Essential fatty acids are needed for the brain and nerve cells to work properly. Eat oily fish (e.g. mackerel, tuna, sardines, or salmon) twice a week, and add a few seeds to your diet too.
- Avoid caffeine in the evenings as this can mess up your sleep patterns. Steer clear of coffee, tea, and colas.
- Watch your alcohol intake, as heavy drinkers can suffer from its depressant effects.
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