5 Foods that May be Affecting your Mood and Mind


5 Foods that May be Affecting your Mood and Mind 

When we eat, we may consider the consequences of what will happen if we ate it, but oftentimes just shove it to the back of our mind in exchanged for that golden taste.

The main thought people usually have is how many calories a food item has or if it’s high in fat. Though those are good questions to ask ourselves, there’s another question we should ask ourselves; which is, “how will this food affect my mood?”

There have been reports how an unhealthy diet in sugar and fat may lead to poor mental health, but not too many people usually think much about it. After all, we live in a society where some people rely on microwaveable food choices or fast food restaurants.

Even I find myself making a stop at Jack in the Box when I’m near one and in need of a quick snack. However, it’s good to be aware of how certain types of mood could not only affect our weight, but attitudes as well.

1. Junk foods:

It’s already known that junk food isn’t on top of the food pyramid, and the reason for that is because it eventually changes the chemicals in our brain. Double bacon cheeseburgers with large curly fries may be good every now and then, but after several weeks of consumption, it leads to symptoms such as depression and anxiety.

To break down the theory of how junk food affect the mind, it affects how dopamine is produced in our brain. For those who aren’t too well familiar with dopamine, it’s the positive feelings we receive that supports our cognitive function, alertness, motivation, and memory. Junk food contains certain chemicals that alerts and raises our dopamine level, eventually causing an imbalance in our brain.

Therefore, if a person was to eat junk food for months, but decided to quit, they’ll develop cravings and urges for another cheeseburger because their natural dopamine wouldn’t be high enough to satisfy them. They’ll need a chemical boost to give them the natural feelings they had the months they consumed junk food.

This desires for junk food would have nothing to do with being hungry or looking for energy, but as a way to balance the dopamine level and body chemicals. 

For my readers who would like a reference guide to gain a deeper understanding about Junk food, here is a list for them:

This article discuss basics facts about living a lifestyle of eating junk food

This article goes about how junk food affect our weight, and what a researcher at UCLA uncovered about how junk food makes a person lazy and tired.

This article reveals how junk food increases your risk of depression

2. Sugary Products:

It’s okay to consume a sugary beverage from time to time, but after a long period of consumption it creates neurological problems that affect our memory.

A common reason people seek after sugary products is because our body desire sugary substances as a source of energy. It may not immediately affect you, but if it’s consumed daily it’ll disrupt your natural blood sugar, causing you to develop mood swings and depressing thoughts until something sugary is consumed.

To learn more about the harmful effects of sugary drinks, Harvard offers many insightful studies. So if it’s possible, try avoiding the consumption of sugar, syrup, and anything high in fructose. Don’t chase after artificial sweeteners either because though they contain less calories, they do more harm than good. Overtime, they can cause brain damage and interfere with our cognitive function.

For my readers who would like a reference guide to gain a deeper understanding about sugar, here is a list for them:

This article is useful for those who consume artificial sweeteners and other sugar substitutes.

This article from Harvard gets into detail about many studies about Artifical Sweeteners, and how they affect people overtime.

This article from UCSF goes about the ways how sugary substance could affect your aging and health.

This article was based on the study of Dr. Peter Havel’s work on the effects of sugar and corn syrup. He basically goes over his hypothesis and tested theory to how sugar affects a person’s mind, attitude, and energy.

3. Foods high in salt:

Salt not only has a direct effect on our blood pressure, but it leads to a decline in our cognitive function later on in life. Research at Harvard shows that food containing a high level of sodium can affect our cognitive function, impairing our ability to think or focus.

Such as how nicotine affect the brain, salty foods could have the same effects, creating harsh withdraws if trying to quit. It’s known to everyone that adding salt to more food give it a better flavor, and if consumed through small dosages could be healthy for our body.

But try to keep in mind that there’s other sources of spices and herbs you could use when cooking which could be just as good. Examples would be products such as unsalted butter, red pepper flakes, or dried onion. As for my older audienceStudies at the University of Melbourne show that older adults who consume too much salt without exercising are at greater risk of cognitive decline. 

For my readers who would like a reference guide to gain a deeper understanding about salt products, here is a list for them:

This article is about the right level of salt to consume because it’s important to have salt, just not too much.

This is another article that goes about explaining how much sodium you should eat per day.

This page from Wikipedia provides a clear picture of the health effects of salt and breaks it down for people to understand.

4. Grains:

Unless it’s 100%, try avoiding them any grain products at the store. Such products would normally be wheat or rye because it can negatively impact your mind and brain health. By consuming grain regularly, not only are you in risk for aging your body, but it impairs your memory and in worst cases, develop severe mental health problems.

It’s often overlooked, but the mere consumption of grain products could be the reason someone suffers from depression because their body might not be able to handle the concentration of serotonin, which damages a person chemical system.

For my readers who would like a reference guide to gain a deeper understanding about grains, here is a list for them:

This article is about the health studies of whole grains

This article provides the benefits to sticking with a whole grain lifestyle while also mentioning the possible consequences of eating refined grains.

It’s sort of long to go through, but this is a summary of recent research reports on Whole Grains and Health. This is really helpful to gain an understanding of it. But I recommend printing it out if possible.

5. Processed Foods:

It may be convenient to buy a microwavable meal such as we did while we were in college, or don’t have enough money to purchase healthy meals. But processed food could impair your central nervous system that could result in later brain disorders known as Alzheimer’s disease.

Besides the fact it’s high in trans fats, artificial colors and artificial sweetener, it creates poor mood swings and a focused mindset. Because our appetites revolves around food containing salt, sweet and fatty, food manufacturers found sneaky ways to place those ingredients in their food products.

That’s how our brain receives the “rewarding” feeling when consuming a hot pocket. It rewires our brain neurons that creates a desire to return back them to those food items, eventually causing a case of obesity if not controlled.

Cooking processed foods may be easier because it requires less energy and time, but the consequences of those food could be low energy, lack of focus, severe depression, and poor metabolism. For more tips on healthy food choices:

  • For lunch or dinner, eat brown rice instead of white
  • For breakfast, eat oatmeal instead of cereals
  • For any meal, eat low fat 100% grain instead of white bread and rolls
  • For any meal choice, trying baking instead of frying

For my readers who would like a reference guide to gain a deeper understanding about the dangers of processed foods, here is a list for them:

This is a very keen insight based on a researched experiment concerning the consumption of processed foods versus healthy foods.

I recommend printing this research paper discussing the dangers of low-income families are often unhealthy due to the processed foods they buy.

This article is pretty much a comparison of whole foods vs. processed foods. It’s short, but entertaining

This is a food change nutrition guide for those interested in changing their food choices

This is an article about interviews with nutritional experts concerning the health risks from processed foods and trans fats. It’s a little long, but gives great details about the subject.

In final thought…

Depending on where you live, your income and what you could afford; it may not be possible to adapt a processed food free diet. However, by being self-aware of how these food choices could affect your mind, it’ll allow you to perform a self-diagnosis if you ever developed strange mood swings, signs of depression or lack of focus.

It’s not because there’s something necessarily wrong with your life, but because of your food choices. So to end this article, I’ll provide 5 healthy food choices to eat which could reverse the chemical imbalance in your brain.

  • Dark Chocolate
  • Coffee
  • Protein such as eggs or almonds
  • Omega-3 Fats products such as fish
  • Bananas


About Author

Besides being random and dealing with ADHD from time to time, Michael Gregory II is the CEO of the Self Development Workshop. He’s traveled to over a dozen countries, counselled a variety of people, and continues furthering his knowledge in self-development, depression, and mastering your happiness. On his lazy days, he enjoy watching people, reading in Starbucks, and speaking to random strangers. (Yeah, he’s weird.)


  1. Hello Michael

    This post is right on.
    You can say that I am an advocate on healthy eating.
    Every point you made is vital to longevity and wholesomeness.

    I not only try my very best to eat wholesome foods, but I also use herbs and supplements.

    This is a post that should be share.. so I will.

    Thank you

  2. Thank you Glady for your support! I’m currently trying to maintain a healthier lifestyle myself (even though it seems I only live by junk food areas).

  3. Hi Michael,

    Great post. What took you so long? 🙂 It was an excellent post and much needed. Great information and as I’ve gotten older I’ve actually eliminated many of these items. I just did a post on it last week, mainly due to high blood pressure and to avoid pre-diabetes so this article is dead one.

    Thank God for one. I’ve never been a big junk food eater. Occassinally I get a taste for Mcdonald’s french fries, (every 6 months or so) and I love the sweet Ice Tea, but now that I started watching my diet to bring my A1C level down I’ve pretty much eliminated all process foods. Never been a one for those anyway. I’ve also eliminated sugar completed from my diet although I do use a sweeter but all in all sugar is non-existent in my diet right now – and I believe why I am no longer pre-diabetic. In addition, I also eliminated salt. All of these things helped me to get healthier which makes your article awesome and current.

    You’re right about being aware of food choices. This is keep us very healthy particularly as we get older.

    Again, great job. Love the website look too. keep ’em coming!

  4. Thanks Barbara!! I know, it has been a while lol. I’m on my path to balancing my diet too. (Granted I do have my moments where I fall into temptation). But the more I learn about building up and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, the more committed I feel to it.

  5. Excellent article Michael. It’s a known fact that all thoughts, and consequently behaviour, are processed through the brain and nervous system, which is totally dependent on nutrition.

    Junk foods, sugar and processed foods are stripped of vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids so people eating them regularly will become deficient in them.

    I think one of the hardest things for most people is to avoid sugar and foods containing it. Luckily there is lot of help around these days in the way of artices in magazines and books on the subject.

    I became aware of how important it was to eat whole nutritious foods many years ago when I had chronic fatigue, but beat it with a healthy diet. I have been an avid promoter of healthy eating ever since.

  6. Thanks Sandy! I’m still on the process of learning the best way to maintain a healthy lifestlye. I managed to cut down my intake of sugar, but I still have moments where I indulge in it.

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