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Food-Mood Connection

April 18, 2008

Scientific research and personal experience both demonstrate that what we eat affects how we think and how we act. Still, most people don’t acknowledge the connection between their food and their mood. Stop and think for a moment about how you feel throughout the day. Do you sometimes feel fuzzy and tired after lunch? Angry and irritable between meals? Energized by a great meal?

Food undoubtedly changes your mood. The most extreme examples are coffee or alcohol, which change your state of mind within minutes. The standard American diet, high in processed carbohydrates and poor-quality animal meat while lacking vegetables and water, leaves many people in a bad mood. It’s hard to feel inspired and happy when you’re living on chemical, artificial junk food. Julia Ross, author of The Mood Cure and a pioneer in the field of nutritional psychology, refers to this relationship as the law of malnutrition. The current epidemic of bad moods is definitely linked to an epidemic of deteriorating food quality and quantity: junk moods come from junk foods, she writes.

About the author

Joshua Rosenthal is the Founder and Director of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. He has worked in the nutrition field for more than 25 years, teaching at the school alongside health leaders including Andrew Weil, Deepak Chopra and Barry Sears. At Integrative Nutrition students are trained as Health Coaches, receiving the holistic nutrition education necessary for them go out into the world and help others improve their health and happiness.