You have no doubt heard the saying, “you are what you eat.” There is far more truth to that statement than most people realize. The foods that we eat not only have a direct impact on our physical health but also on our minds. By monitoring the kinds of food you put into your body, you can better control your mood throughout the day. The change can be gradual, but if you stick with these diet modifications, you will improve your overall mood.

Eat a Balanced Breakfast

In today’s busy culture, many people make a habit of skipping breakfast altogether. Starting the day with a full meal will help to balance blood sugar and increase mental stamina as well as help you wake up better. Of course, eating nothing but sugar for breakfast will lead to an abrupt crash later in the day, which makes most people very irritable. In order to keep focused, try having a healthy protein breakfast with good fats from foods like eggs, chicken, quinoa, sweet potatoes, and broccoli. Avoiding flour-based and sugary foods will help keep your energy balanced, be beneficial for your overall health, and improve your attitude at the beginning of your day.

Avoid Over-Caffeination

Besides skipping meals, many people are far more addicted to caffeine than they realize. Having a cup of coffee in the morning may help you wake up faster and get started on your day more efficiently, but too much caffeine can begin to debilitate you by disrupting your sleep cycle and causing fatigue when caffeine levels in your body begin to drop. For some, caffeine actually worsens stress-related illnesses like depression. If you are someone who consumes massive amounts of caffeine, you might try limiting your caffeine intake or completely eliminating it for a month to see how it affects your mood and overall health. Beware, if you opt to cut it out completely, you might be surprised at how dependent your body had become. Once your body adjusts to functioning without any caffeine, you can start adding reasonable amounts back into your diet.

Reduce Stress by Reducing Sugar

The euphoric sensation of the sugar rush is the go-to for many people when dealing with stress. As a result, stress and sugar intake have culturally developed a synergistic relationship. This creates a vicious cycle of stress-binging on sugary, unhealthy foods, which further exacerbates the stress sensation once the sugar crash hits. Once this psychological connection has been established, there is a two-part process that you need to take in order to really feel better physically and mentally. You need to cut back on the sweets, especially when you feel stressed. Then, rather than looking to a sugar rush to overcome the feelings of stress, try exercising instead. Exercise is one of the best ways to reduce stress because of the release of endorphins and the boost of oxygen from increased blood flow throughout your body.

Eat at Regular Intervals

The traditional sentiment of having three-square meals has received its share of detractors, but the concept of developing a consistent eating routine is more important than you may realize. Just like skipping breakfast, eating irregularly can cause your blood sugar to fluctuate significantly. As it drops, you typically feel tired and irritated. For people who are already suffering from depression, these types of mood fluctuations are all the more dangerous. Eating meals at the same time each day will balance your metabolism, blood sugar, and general energy levels. Just like your food intake, you need to hydrate regularly as well to keep your body working properly so that you can think clearly and stay in a good mood. It may take time to deliver the full effects, but maintaining a healthy and consistent diet will improve your mood over time. More importantly, the effects of a healthy diet are long-lasting and all-encompassing. The food you eat is more than just a means to satisfying hunger. It is a means to improve your overall quality of life.