Food and Mood

In the previous post, I wrote about how mood affects our eating habits. This post I'll be writing about new research that indicates a two way interaction. By that I mean, not only do our moods effect what we eat but what we eat effects our moods.

In a Penn State research study, there was a correlation found between mood and food. Specifically, our moods are negatively impacted when we chose to eat foods high in calories, sodium, and saturated fat. Furthermore, this effect can last up to two days after the meal. In other words, what I eat on Wednesday can effect my state of mind until Friday. 

More research about the link between mood and food found people's moods were more positive when they ate vegetables and fruits the day before. So if I ate those food groups on Wednesday, I would have an elevated mood until Thursday.  

Of course there are limits to this research. There are a lot of independent variables to consider. Also, I am not suggesting to never eat foods high in sugar or sodium because let's face it, sometimes we need a meal like that. It however is interesting to consider what impact our food may have on our mood.  

Here are 9 Foods that can boost mood and energy levels: 

  1. Salmon- Supports healthy brain function
  2. Mushrooms- Contain Vitamin D which stabilize the brain's neurotransmitters  
  3. Tart Cherries- Promote healthy sleeping patterns  
  4. Maca Powder- Balances hormone levels, decreases cortisol, increases stamina, libido, and strength  
  5. Grass-Fed Butter- Butter sounds counter intuitive however, grass-fed butter has been shown to increase energy levels, speed up metabolism and reduce blood pressure  
  6. Raw Organic Cacao- Aids in weight loss and increases energy
  7. Chia Seeds- Rich in fiber which helps to maintain regular digestion  
  8. Coconut- Supports the immune system, thyroid gland, nervous system, and skin  
  9. Spirulina- Improves your body's ability to absorb nutrients (especially when it comes to iron deficiency) and increases energy  
  10. Goji Berries- Helps your visual system, increases libido and immune system function  

Why to Kiss More

Why do we kiss? Does kissing serve a function? Or is it just a way to intitiate sex? Turns out, there is a lot that goes into a kiss. From an evolutionary perspective, kissing is one way to determine a potential mate's health status, hygiene, and reproducing potential. You are close enough to smell their glands that secrete genetic, immunological, and pheromone (a secreted or excreted chemical factor that triggers a social response in members of the same species) information. In other words the saying, “it's all in the first kiss” is true in that almost immediately we can sense if this person will be a good long-term mate.  

So what happens when you have the first kiss and both your biological components match? Your bodies begin to bond and become aroused by releasing:  


  • Dopamine: The energizer- gives us motivation, drive, and pleasure  
  • Serotonin: The stabilizer- helps you regulate mood, pain, digestion and sleep cycles  
  • Endorphins: Well-being- the body's natural opiates that give us a feeling of happiness and satisfaction.  
  • Oxytocin: The bonder- the feeling of love, safety, and security that also reduces stress and blood pressure.  
Kissing your partner enhances feelings of intimacy, trust, and fondness. Therefore, our feelings of love and connection are reinforced when we kiss our partner. Additionally, other research suggests that couples who kiss more have higher levels of relationship satisfaction and lower levels of stress, cholesterol and blood pressure.

The 6 Second Kiss:

The six second kiss is described by relationship expert John Gottman is an easy exercise to improve your relationship. Often times couples forget about the simple pleasure of kissing unless it is involved in foreplay. Spending a full six second count with your partner increases the amount of the chemicals released and communicates more passion and intimacy than just a quick peck.  

One easy way to get back on track when you and your beloved are feeling disconnected? Kiss more! Making a point to increase your kissing frequency can help maintain or increase feelings of connection.

5 Tips for Happy Relationships

There are thousands of books, articles, podcasts etc, about what makes a relationship satisfying. After years of reading soaking in all the information from a variety of sources, here are 5 simple ways to improve your relationship (even the best relationships can always use a periodic boost). Understandably, some of the below items are easier to achieve than others, however, after reading the list you may have a better idea about what areas your relationship needs improvement. 

Best Friends: 
Be best friends and treat each other as such. How do you treat your best friend when they are upset? Do you tell them they are in the wrong or they need to stop feeling sad? I hope not. To our best friends we lend a supportive and loving ear all the while sticking up for them. The same should go for your beloved. When your partner comes home from work complaining about the boss, do not respond with, “Well your boss may have a point...” To that end, what happens when our best friend wants try a new restaurant or go see a movie? We say yes because we want to share in what our friend likes. Finally, when you find yourself irritated or annoyed towards your partner take one second to ask yourself- “If this were my best girl friend how would I respond? How would I treat them?”

Let it Out:
When something upsets you, say it right away. Many of us are guilty of holding in our thoughts and feelings. One little thing bothers us early in the day and instead of bringing it up in the moment we allow it to fester. Sometimes we may not ask questions or respond with, “it's nothing, I'm fine” because we feel stupid for feeling it or we tell ourself that it does not really matter. My answer to that is, if it really is nothing then what is the harm in saying it out loud? Take 5 minutes to explain exactly what you are thinking the moment you are upset. It could possibly save you an hour(s) conversation later.  

Passion and Hobbies:
Find a shared passion that both of you can enjoy together. Having a passion to share with your love grants you the opportunity to have something to learn about together, gives you a topic to talk about, and allows you to connect through quality time. Passions can include cooking, music, traveling, health and fitness, and mountain biking. If at first nothing is jumping out at you, make a pact to keep trying out new things together.  

Liven up your sex life. I often hear about people becoming bored or being dissatisfied with their sex life. If we have these feelings it is important to first talk (in a loving way) to your partner about it. It may be a periodic lull or there may be something deeper. Whatever the reason, there are many ways you can keep your sex life fun and spontaneous. Try a new sex position and then talk about how you liked it or take the love making out of the bedroom to a hotel or the kitchen island. Have fun with your sex life by talking about it and exploring new ways to please your partner.  

Giving Love:  
Learn how your partner receives love and do more of it. The well-known five love languages described by Gary Chapman explains how individuals give and receive feelings of love. Languages include; words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of services, and physical touch. Each individual has their own way of feeling loved which may or may not be different from our partners. It is important to show love how our partners feel it. One night, you and your partner go to to take the test and find out each other's love language. Then converse about ways you can both show each other how much you care and love one another.  

How easy do you think it is to implement these changes? Go over the list with your partner and brainstorm what changes can be made. If at the very least, it can open up the communication with your partner. Of course, there are more than 5 ways to better our relationships but this list is a great way to get started If you are interested in more information, below are some recommended readings.  


  • The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John Gottman
  • How to be an Adult in Relationships: The Five Keys to Mindful Loving by David Richo
  • The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary D Chapman