How are you feeling at the moment? Happy? Tired? Stressed? Take a second to check in with yourself, then think about how your mood has influenced your food choices today.
For me, the recent turn in weather has me drawn to warming comfort foods like soups, roast potatoes and pasta. Also, my sweet tooth seems to kick in bang on 3pm – sending me in search of a couple of squares of chocolate and a much-needed break from my computer screen.
Researches have only recently begun to explore how food can affect our emotions – and vice versa.
A first-of-its-kind study published in 2017 by a team led by Australian scientist, Professor Felice Jacka, supports this. The study set out to explore whether improving diet could help improve the mood of people with depression. It was called the ‘SMILES’ study, and what they found was very encouraging.
After 12 weeks on a diet that focused on fruit, vegies, whole grains, legumes, fish, lean red meats, olive oil and nuts (and reducing processed junk foods), participants had a much greater reduction in depressive symptoms, compared to those who received social support.
The truth is, most of us feel both healthier and happier when we eat fresh, nutritious food. So, why is it that eating less healthy foods, like chocolate or ice cream, can also temporarily make us feel good?
Emotional eating is a complex topic, and one I’ve experienced first-hand. In our May issue – out now – we explore the link between food and mood, and share the latest research to help shift your food thinking.