It’s no secret that when you eat a diet high in sugar and processed foods, you’ll lack energy, feel sluggish and will probably carry a few unwanted kilos. But you may not know how much an unhealthy diet affects your mental health. A bad diet can lead to depression, sugar addiction, eating disorders, stress and anxiety.
A good example of how food affects our mood is what happens after we eat a chocolate bar or drink a can of soft drink – we get a spike of energy, and then we crash shortly after. Sugar highs and lows are a real thing and some of us are experiencing them every day.
If you want to improve your wellbeing and mood, the good news is you can with these six simple tricks:
1. Eat protein
A diet rich in protein can improve your mood and fuel you with energy even hours after eating. Protein helps slows the absorption of carbohydrates in your blood and increase the release of dopamine and norepinephrine. Eggs, chicken, seafood, Greek yoghurt and raw nuts are our top picks.
2. Add fibre
Complex carbohydrates that contain soluble fibre can slow down the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream and increase the feel-good chemical, serotonin. Serotonin helps regulate mood, appetite and digestion, sleep and memory. So, adding fibre is a no-brainer.
3. Enjoy breakfast
Set your day up for success by eating a protein-rich brekkie. It’ll keep you fuller for longer, help balance your blood sugar, reduce sugar cravings and prevent a mid-morning binge. Some of our fave breakfasts from our program KIC include Buckwheat Porridge with Berries & Peanut Butter, Mushroom & Spinach Omelette and our Apple & Blueberry Chia Pudding.
4. Ditch sugar
Quitting sugar can be really hard. And although a slice of cake every now and then is totally fine, getting stuck into the office vending machine every day will do more harm than good. You’ll experience that classic sugar rush, then crash. Beat the sugar craving by eating something sour (yes, this works). Try eating half a grapefruit or some kimchi. We have our own range of KIC Kimchi and Kraut which are not only delicious but will totally curb that sugar craving.
5. Reduce the booze
Alcohol is like sugar: it can enhance our mood and temporarily make us feel good, then when it wears off, we’re left feeling pretty blah and sometimes even sad. Again, a celebratory glass of bubbles or catch-up wine with a friend is fine, but drinking every night can lead to anxiety, stress and weight gain.
6. Drink more water
We all know that it’s important to stay hydrated, but you may not know that it affects our mood. When you’re dehydrated your body becomes fatigued, and when you’re fatigued you’re more likely to be grumpy and irritable. So, if you want to have more energy, improve your concentration and experience a happier mood, drink more water.
Want to know more about the KIC Girls? Here’s how Laura Henshaw stays motivated and energised, plus Steph Claire Smith shares the one workout she will never skip.
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