You might’ve heard of the word, “hangry”. If not, how about feeling that irritability or losing that focus when doing something while you think your stomach is begging you for food? If you’ve ever experienced that – the sudden burst of emotion of anger or irritation – while feeling the need for food then that’s what “hangry” is. You are angry because you are hungry. That’s what it is.

Now, just how does food affect our mood? How would we know if you’re angry or sad or happy and not just hungry? How would we know if it’s just your mood and has nothing to do with food? Is it food or is it mood?

The answer to that is pretty obvious. What goes inside our body affects how we do things, how we think and how we feel. The food that we eat has a great impact on our mood. As the food disintegrates inside, the nutrients (and even the chemicals) will flow and be distributed to the brain. Since the brain is the main switch or should I say the main captain of the ship, the way it controls us or manoeuvres us will rely on what it has absorbed.

One of the important body chemicals we should look out for is serotonin. It is “a neurotransmitter that helps regulate sleep and appetite, mediate moods, and inhibit pain.” Low levels of serotonin are usually associated with depression. Psych doctors would often prescribe medications that would help increase the level of serotonin to alleviate or ease depression and anxiety. Having imbalanced serotonin levels in your body would cause symptoms such as losing focus, mood swings, depression, lack of appetite, and fatigue. This is the impact of serotonin on our body.

So when you’re feeling “hangry” or you can’t concentrate, it means that your serotonin level is low. That doesn’t mean that you have to go to the doctor and see if you’ll be prescribed medicines that will boost your serotonin. Why not ask yourself first if you are hungry, maybe you just need some food. Or if you’re not giving yourself enough nutrients that it needs to make you feel good. Take note though that giving yourself food is not enough to make you feel good and be in a better mood. You have to eat the right food to give you the right nutrients that your body needs.

Let me ask you this – What does a fatty burger give you over a protein-rich salad?

The answer – A moment of happiness.

Now, another question – What does a protein-rich salad give you over a fatty burger?

The answer – A moment of happiness that could possibly be a lifetime.

To conclude, food does affect our mood. So eat right and feel right.