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Sunday, 19 November, 2000, 12:20 GMT
What foods affect your mood?

Changing your diet could improve your mental health, according to a new guide published on Tuesday.

The UK based mental health charity, Mind, says that certain foods such as chocolate and sugary items can improve moods, however temporarily.

Mind recommends tuna, avocado and bananas, that release sugars slowly.

What food gives you a sudden rush of adrenaline? Does chocolate have you on an impetuous high or a lingering low? What are the foods that alter your moods?

This Talking Point is now closed. A selection of your e-mails are posted below.


British Beef should kill all my worries.
Jan Drexel, Germany

Cold processed peas straight out the tin are wonderful.
Alex Keir, Scotland


When I'm emotionally tired, extremely angry or extremely depressed, I can't eat anything

Rana, Palestine
When I'm emotionally tired, extremely angry or extremely depressed, I can't eat anything even if I'm starving. I can't even stand the sight of food then! I know that some people have it the other way around. When they're depressed they take it out on food. I wonder why that is.
Rana, Palestine

5 shots of good espresso poured over ice with a dash of cream - that and a Mayfair king on a sunny day makes me very happy indeed!
John Jeffrey McGinnis, Sausalito, USA

Here's a recipe to cheer you up. Home made soup: Lentils, split peas, garlic, barley,1 tin of tomatoes, 1 potato, half an onion, 2 tea spoons of Bovril. Cook in a pressure for half an hour.
Martin, England

Every year a huge Christmas turkey with roast potatoes, Brussels sprouts, beans, peas, bacon-wrapped-chicken and gravy. I'm always warm and content afterwards.
Paul C, England

My mood is lifted when I have a Dutch treat: pomperis with mayonnaise and some Amstel. Holay Jose!!!
Eddie, Houston,Texas


Marmite on toast

Melanie, Holland
Marmite on toast, a hot curry, avocados, chips and saté sauce like they do it in Rotterdam and a couple of glasses of a nice Spanish wine are good pick-me-ups.
Melanie, Holland

I very much like to take some sliced pepperoni, cubed pineapple, thinly cut chilli peppers (the very hot ones), covered in slices of cheese and a sprinkling of cayenne pepper and spices, put under the grill for 5 minutes and out it comes - my own home-made pizza for less than £1. Not only that, it tastes great... There can't be many things this good that cost this little!
Billy G, UK

Try adding six ladles of pure maple syrup to a bowl of rice pudding. Feel that sugar buzzzzzzzz. (Don't try this one if you're diabetic).
Paul R, UK

Living on a vegetarian diet most of the time, I notice a pick-up effect with a weekly huge fillet steak, accompanied by a glass of red wine.
Jari Tervo, Kajaani, Finland


A very quick easy snack

Stu, UK
A very quick easy snack: fried onions, tinned tomatos and melted cheese on toast is just the best.
Stu, UK

Single malt and some chocolate.
Episure, India

Home-made rice pudding, made with double cream, full cream milk and a huge spoonful of golden syrup - to die for!
Adi, Milton Keynes

I find that Aspartame, the artificial sweetener, affects me. It gives me a low and a cracking headache. Unfortunately, because it is cheaper to produce than sugar, it is appearing in more and more non-diet food and drinks. I can only find one brand of standard lemonade that does not contain it. Parents beware, it is also known to cause behavioural problems in kids.
Merx, London, UK

Mackerel fillets on toast with loads of Tabasco sauce, guaranteed to make me smile.
Jon, Warwick, England.


You can't beat a banana for that instant feel-better energy rush

Grant Appleyard, London, UK
You can't beat a banana for that instant feel-better energy rush. Also we can't forget that sometimes It's the fact a meal was cooked FOR you that makes you feel a whole lot better, no matter what the dish is.
Grant Appleyard, London, UK

If music be the food of love then play on I say!!
Gary Priest, UK

I drink wine and it makes me happy.
Tom K, UK

I am in 100% agreement with Oli - a bacon sandwich with HP sauce is my favourite pick-me up. Failing that, toast and Marmite. Marmite is the only thing I always take with me when I travel on business as I've never yet been persuaded that I can start the day properly with fruit, cheese or ham!! Also, why no mention from anyone of a cup of hot strong tea? Beats coffee any day!
David Morris, UK


Absinthe on the rocks

STC, England
Absinthe on the rocks - it has to be. Watching the absinthe slowly louche and letting sunlight shine through the opalescent glow - sheer magic.
STC, England

Does food affect mood swings? Well, I do know a good curry and a pint will always put a smile on this face...
Alex White, UK

Ciabatta, sliced in half (top from bottom), toasted on the out side, then spread butter on the top, and cover in grated mature cheddar and crumbled Danish blue (which you then grill until molten). Hmmmmm, cuddly arteries but I don't care!
Lee, England

I am truly addicted to cakes. If there is no biscuit left at home, I do not feel good at all. I really need to eat cakes everyday, otherwise I am unhappy.
Dominique Bikindou, France


Tomatoes make me angry

Max Gadney, UK
Tomatoes make me angry - they are the unwanted guests at the cheese sandwich wedding
Max Gadney, UK

The food that improves my mood the most in the short term is the same stuff that makes me depressed in the long term when I look at my expanding size in the mirror.
Julian Smith, UK

Cigarettes and whiskey and wild, wild women!
Mikko Toivonen, Finland

Sweetcorn makes me hyperactive.
David M, Southampton, UK

Think crusty PIZZA!! I can change from frowny to smily just by the "thought" of it!
A. Parks, UK

Olives and sun-dried tomatoes make me dream of foreign holidays in the sun; after a few glasses of red wine I think I'm there.
Gerry, Scotland


A big fat steak

Richard, USA
A big fat steak "RARE" and a bottle of good red wine does wonders for my outlook on life.
Richard, USA

Beer.
Steve, UK

Redbull gives me wings but the morning after it clips them.
Brian, Dublin, Ireland

Eating a banana can help me feel fruity in the morning.
Diane, England

I have been a vegetarian for 4 years now and feel so much better. My stomach is no longer a graveyard for poor, dead, putrefying corpses of innocent animals.
Harrish, Mozambique

It's not so much what you eat but more what you don't eat! Such delicacies as tripe, fresh or dried oysters, fresh salmon and any raw meat are real vomit inducers! As for the rest, I just like to visualise the different foods and the different styles of cooking, especially the eastern methods. Yumm, my mouth is watering already....
John C., Warwick, England

The Italians say that when you love chocolate "ci vuole coccolino" - you're craving affection. Chocolate lovers unite?
Daniel, USA


A nice crisp and marmite sandwich, any flavour of crisp and of course white bread gives me great pleasure

Chris, England
A nice crisp and marmite sandwich, any flavour of crisp and of course white bread gives me great pleasure, failing that it's got to be a Chicken Madras.
Chris, England

Eating chocolates puts me in a good mood. In fact, I don't even like sharing this precious commodity with my workmates. But, if your metabolic rate is as high as mine is, fear not you will not put on an ounce.
Bebe, Guyana

Eating foods with high fat content , i.e. lots of cheese makes me feel sleepy and is reported to give some people bad dreams. This is my experience too. Surely if we overeat we will overheat!
Keith, UK

For me vitamin C stands for one thing - Caffeine
Chris, UK

Dairy products always pick me up, especially milk I also find that vanilla ice-cream works wonders for a hangover!
Charlie, USA


I can definitely say that you are what you eat

Alison Harston, UK
I was diagnosed with IBS 2 years ago after I'd had 18 months of stomach problems such as bloating, sickness, constipation and general lethargy - needing at least 10 hours sleep a night. After 18 months of trying out different foods and finding that artificial sweeteners, beef and pork didn't help the situation, I was given a voucher to try bio-rhythm feedback allergy testing. It showed that I had an intolerance to all the things that already caused me digestive problems but also came up with dairy and wheat products. It also pointed out that I do not take in enough water and breathe deeply enough. I have changed my diet for 2 months so far and have seen a dramatic difference in my energy levels and digestive system. I am more alert and am finding my concentration levels at work have increased. I can definitely say that you are what you eat.
Alison Harston, UK

It seems to me that, according to most women, eating chocolate tends to induce guilt. Therefore it would seem that the effect of some foods is more psychological than physiological.
Steven, UK

Even at a simple level, going without food at all for any length of time reduces blood sugar and changes the body's internal chemistry. The food we eat is about the only thing our body has to use as fuel and to regenerate itself. The same people who would be amazed if their car ran on nothing but Coke expect their bodies to be able to run on nothing but pizza!
John B, UK

A healthy and balanced low fat diet consisting of fresh fruit, nuts, yoghurt, beans etc, always makes me feel healthy and generally puts me in a better mood.
Stuart, UK


The idea of eating vegetables puts me in a bad mood

Bruce, England
The idea of eating vegetables puts me in a bad mood. Attempts were made when I was a child to convince me that I would like them one day and I'm happy to say I now live an active life eating meat, potatoes, pasta and the odd bit of fruit. However, cheese makes me sweat.
Bruce, England

Meat, potatoes, lots of gravy and a case of Curly Wurley's make my day!
Brandon, USA

A bacon sarnie with brown sauce. Now that IS a pick-me-up.
Oli, UK

Give me Kalamata olives, grilled fresh octopus in olive oil and lemon juice dressing with a nice glass of wine and I will be in heaven!
D. Sima, UK


For me, pickled eggs are great, or suet puddings - they get rid of any feelings of emotional emptiness

Lizz, UK
For me, pickled eggs are great, or suet puddings - they get rid of any feelings of emotional emptiness (as well as the physical emptiness!). Liver and kidneys work wonders too. I need tea to get to sleep, and cheese for breakfast is always a good mood lifter. I find ham is a bit depressing though.
Lizz, UK

Helena - anyone who believes that being a vegetarian means eating lots of biscuits and chocolate is bound top lose weight when they start replacing sugar with meat.
Gill Redfearn, UK

Like most endurance athletes, I know the crash that comes after a sugar rush, which can leave you feeling physically and mentally worse than before it. Because of this, I prefer fruit for a boost and other carbohydrates (such as bread, pasta, potatoes etc) for longer term energy as part of a balanced diet.
Tim S., UK


It's not JUST what you eat that causes mood swings. Anything that gives you a natural high, be it caused by food or exercise or just good news, will give you a corresponding low later

Laura Marcus, England, UK
I exercise regularly and enjoy a big lift from the endorphins that are released into my body as a result. But about an hour later I come crashing down. My point? It's not JUST what you eat that causes mood swings. Anything that gives you a natural high, be it caused by food or exercise or just good news, will give you a corresponding low later. That's fine by me. Who wants to live life at a constant equilibrium? I don't think it's possible.
Laura Marcus, England, UK

When my bones feel creaky I eat oily fish. To start my day I enjoy a banana. BUT I have a severe reaction to any food that contains or has been in contact with red, green, yellow peppers.
Martin,

Sweetcorn makes me hyperactive.
David M, UK

Nothing makes me happier than a good burger - served the way nature intended, with ketchup and a sesame seed bun! That's the easiest way to change my mood.
Dino Munter, United Kingdom

What is it with chocolate? Why are so many people obsessed with it? Foods that make me feel good are healthy, 'special occasion' types like fresh seafood, exotic fruit and vegetables. Good taste and great nutrition. The only guilt felt is perhaps in the wallet department! Chocolate is usually cheap, tacky, wrapped in highly polluting packaging and high in fat.
Matt, UK

Some foods, particularly additives such as Sunset Yellow, have a very profound effect on making me feel lethargic and sometimes even ill. I love any type of seafood; hot spicy Indian curries give me a boost, but I avoid sugar; sweets; cakes and much "stodgy" food wherever possible.
Mike Ryan, England


Garlic cream cheese, jacket potato with garlic butter, steak au poivre (done properly), a good curry. Need I say more?

Hazel, UK
Dark chocolate (75% cocoa solids or stronger), garlic cream cheese, jacket potato with garlic butter, steak au poivre (done properly), a good curry. Need I say more?
Hazel, UK

I've always had a rather Pavlovian reaction to jelly. Having been fed it as a bed-ridden child the site of a packet of Rowntrees can to this day bring me out in mumps.
Edmond Rhys Jones, United Kingdom

Coca-cola sends my heart racing as does coffee. I have to stay clear of them in the morning and late at night. They also cause heart palpitations!
Brian Sweeney, UK


After giving up coffee, the withdrawal symptoms were surprisingly severe

Zoe, UK
I loved drinking coffee, but gave it up as an experiment - I was sceptical about whether caffeine was really as harmful as people said it was. After giving up coffee, the withdrawal symptoms were surprisingly severe. I suffered with the most terrible migraines for a few days - I really felt awful. However, a year later I feel far healthier and more energetic without it. Even the thought of drinking it makes me feel ill now.
Zoe, UK

Eating kangaroo meat makes me jumpy.
Glyn, Australia

Harking back to a previous 'Talking Point', the whole process of preparing and ingesting curry puts me in an excellent mood. That said, even thinking about it has a an effect!
Mark B, UK


How many more people could benefit from this simple (its easier than you think!) change of diet?

Ben Aldhouse, UK
Several years ago I went vegan and almost immediately noticed my health improving. I assume that I am mildly lactose intolerant and for thirty odd years just not known it. I think that the public would benefit from information on the possible harmful effects of dairy produce being made more readily available. How many more people could benefit from this simple (its easier than you think!) change of diet?
Ben Aldhouse, UK

Golden Syrup and banana sandwiches...mmm nice
Alan Perry, GREAT Britain

I love chocolate, but my addiction is worse during run up to period time. It makes me feel good and puts me in a good mood, only thing is I put on weight.
Sonia, Wales, UK

Chocolate and caffeine are two of the essential food-groups, aren't they? I certainly know that when I'm feeling down, a bar of 70%-cocoa-solids chocolate helps make the world look a better place. Self- medication for depression!
Pete Morgan-Lucas, Wiltshire, UK


Veggies are not always healthy as they try to persuade us the are

Helena, UK
After being vegetarian for 4 years and munching away through biscuits and chocolate I returned to normal - started eating what I want (including meat) and when I want and, more to say, lost a lot of weight. So veggies are not always healthy as they try to persuade us they are.
Helena, UK

Whenever I need a quick pick-me-up I always turn to something with real class - chicken and chips!
John Stevens, UK

After 40 years of relatively unhealthy living, I married a lass way younger. She promptly enrolled me in a health club/ gym saying, "you can push my wheelchair, not the other way round". It took me two years to get fit; one by-product of which was really understanding the feelings of my body, i.e. the difference between being physically tired, emotionally tired, ill tired or food tired.
Tony Elkin, UK

Olives alter my mood - especially when they crop up unexpectedly in something. They're absolutely disgusting.
Tony, UK

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