Wellbeing

Mood food, happy meals & eating yourself happy

Mood food, happy meals & eating yourself happy

The impact of food on our mood.

In November 2016 Just Eat, the takeaway service that we’re all more familiar with than we’d like to admit, developed an app. This app was designed to monitor our facial expressions and subsequently suggest a snack that would best benefit our mood. Angry? Dark chocolate or nuts to help calm you. Excited? Wholegrains to help regulate blood sugar levels.

We can guarantee that it’s not just us who associate Just Eat with drunk decisions and Friday’s Chinese takeaway, so it’s all sorts of ironic that they pioneered this food for your mood technology. This in itself shows how much society’s relationship with food is evolving. Yes, we love to treat ourselves to a naughty weekend takeaway however in order to stay relevant Just Eat has had to take a new type of consumer into consideration.  Not just concerned about how our diet affects our bodies, it’s also important to consider the impact of food on our mood.

Just Eat are not the first in the industry to notice this and are part of a growing movement which prioritises ‘mood menus.’ In 2015, Melbourne saw the opening of Serotonin Eatery; a café in the city’s suburbs which “is based around eating a plant-based diet to ensure the body, mind and earth all function at their best.” London too is getting involved, with late night Sloane Avenue bar, Barts, boasting a cocktail list designed to “enhance happiness” and “facilitate focus”. Is there truth behind this trend however, or is it nothing more than just a clever marketing ploy?

We decided to look at the science behind the scene to find out the real impact of food on our mood.

Happy meals.

Protein

Not just your perfect workout partner, thanks to the amino acids they contain, protein rich foods are said to positively impact our mental disposition. These acids make up the chemicals which our brains use to regulate thoughts and feelings and have been attributed to helping battle stress, depression and anxiety. Try eating more white meats and fish, which are both protein rich or alternatively if you’re a veggie, foods like tofu and beans.

Fruit & Veg

Packed full of antioxidants, fruit and vegetables have long been associated with combatting signs of ageing. This is thanks to the way in which the antioxidants eliminate free radicals. Research now suggests that these free radicals may also negatively impact our mental health.

If this is true, then eating antioxidant rich food stuffs, such as fruit and veg, can help improve our mood. In fact, a study found that those who ate tomato based produce on a daily basis were fifty percent less likely to contract depression than those who ate it only once a week!

Fat

The myth that all fats are bad for us was dispelled quite some time ago, with fatty oils giving our brains a much needed boost. Omega-3 and Omega-6 are particularly helpful in this regard and can be found in foods such as fish, avocados, yoghurts and seeds.

It’s still important to avoid certain kinds of fat however, such as “trans fats” which have the opposite than desired effect and worsen your mood.



Emily Flinders

Emily Flinders

Writer and expert