Use Food to Manage Mood - dummies

By Carol Ann Rinzler

No food will change your personality or alter the course of a mood disorder. But some may add a little lift or a small moment of calm to your day, increase your effectiveness at certain tasks, make you more alert, or give you a neat little push over the finish line.

The watchword is balance:

  • One cup of coffee in the morning is a pleasant push into alertness. Seven cups of coffee a day can make your hands shake.
  • One alcohol drink is generally a safe way to relax. Three may be a disaster.
  • A grilled chicken breast (white meat, no skin) for breakfast on a day when you have to be on your toes before lunch can help make you sharp as a tack.
  • Got an important lunch meeting? Order starches without fats or oils: pasta with fresh tomatoes and basil, no oil, no cheese; rice with veggies; rice with fruit. Your aim is to get the calming carbs without the high-fat food that slows thinking and makes you feel sleepy.

As in other aspects of a healthy life, the point is to make sure that you use the tool (in this case, food), not the other way around.