5 Foods To Balance Your Mood Swings On A Bad Day, Recommended By Experts
When I'm feeling particularly glum, I usually start to crave comfort foods: mountains of soft bread, creamy vegan ice cream, my abuela's black bean recipe. And while I have no regrets about eating what my body's asking for, I sometimes wonder whether these delicious treats are helping to get my mood back on track, or if they're actually just making me feel worse in the long run. The thing is, there are definitely foods that can help to balance your mood swings, but they may not always be the noms you're craving in the moment. Rest assured, though, the foods that can help mellow out a bad mood don't have to be boring or unsatisfying. In fact, a lot of them are probably foods you already eat.
Of course, if your mood swings are severe enough that they're interfering with your daily life and your ability to function, make sure to check in with your doctor to understand exactly what's going on. But if you're simply looking for ways to feel a little more like Tigger than Eeyore on a gloomy Monday, Haley Hughes, a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator, says it's all about maintaining a consistent diet. "You don’t get all the benefits if you are inconsistent with following a balanced diet," she tells Elite Daily over email.
And as for what should go into that balanced diet, here are a few foods to consider.
Fry Up An Egg
A savory egg scramble will give you a crucial boost of vitamin B12, which not only keeps your nerve cells nourished, but your mood swings balanced, registered dietitian Keri Glassman tells Elite Daily over email. Eggs are also rich in choline, she says, which supports a neurotransmitter in the body that's important for brain and memory function. Glassman recommends using high-quality eggs like Pete and Gerry’s Organic Eggs to ensure you're getting that brain-boosting choline into your body.
As for plant-based eaters, nutritional yeast is an excellent alternative to your sunny-side-up breakfast. Just like eggs, the "cheesy" (but entirely dairy-free) ingredient is packed with plenty of B vitamins, not to mention it's loaded with protein, too, according to Healthline.
Go To Town On Avocado
Along with foods like fish, sardines, flaxseed, grass-fed meat, and nuts, Hughes says your favorite guac recipe can help keep your mood consistent, thanks to the fruit's richness in healthy fats and omega 3 fatty acids. It's not as if I needed another reason to excuse the extra charge for guac, but if the creamy goodness helps to balance my mood, count me in.
Don't Forget About Your Leafy Greens
It probably comes as no surprise to you that dark leafy greens are good for you, but Hughes suggests eating your veggies for a mood-boosting helping of folate, which is an important vitamin for the body. One study, published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, went so far as to suggest that low folate levels may be connected to depression, and that taking folic acid could vastly improve your mood. Of course, if you're experiencing depression, it's best to check in with your doctor about whether taking folic acid or eating folate-rich foods is best for you before you make any decisions on your own.
But if you're just looking to see whether or not these foods make a difference for the occasional bad mood, try throwing a handful of leafy greens like spinach, chard, and kale into your egg scramble, or whip up an avocado salad for a double dose of mood-boosting benefits.
Get Berry Happy With Fresh Fruit
Back in 2016, Glassman told Bustle that "vitamin C foods have been shown to help reduce stress." And she's totally right: One study, for instance, published in the Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences, looked at the effects of vitamin C supplements on anxiety levels in 42 high school students. Not only did the researchers find that "vitamin C plays an important therapeutic role for anxiety," but they also saw some evidence that the vitamin could potentially help students perform better academically, as well. Talk about a win-win, right?
Sip Away On Your Coffee
Believe it or not, your morning mug can actually be pretty great for your mood swings. For one thing, "caffeine can increase dopamine," Hughes tells Elite Daily, which is a neurotransmitter in the brain that influences your responses to pleasure and reward.
But your favorite frapp doesn't just increase your brain's happiness; it can also work to reduce unhappiness, according to a decade-long study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine. scientific research. While the research noted that further investigation is needed to confirm these findings, the researchers wrote in the conclusion of the study "that depression risk decreases with increasing caffeinated coffee consumption."
Make sure you aren't overdoing it, though, says Glassman. "Moderate consumption is OK," she explains, "but too much can make you nauseous, interfere with sleep, and even worsen anxiety." Specifically, the Mayo Clinic recommends that you don't exceed four cups of coffee per day.
If you need me, I'll be over here sipping a latte and enjoying all the avo toast my heart desires.