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From Caffeine, Sugar To Alcohol: How These 8 Foods Affect Mood

Caffeine makes you alert, while sugar soothes you when distressed. This shows foods impacts our mood massively  

Written by: Shubhangi ShahPublished at: Nov 29,2021
Updated at: Nov 30,2021

We all have a general idea of how different foods affect our physical health. Fresh fruits and vegetables are rich in fiber and provide you with vital vitamins and minerals, while fast and processed foods, especially when consumed regularly, wreak havoc on the body. Experts advise abstaining from eating refined sugar while having dark chocolate in control provides you with antioxidants. It’s a great mood-uplifter too. But do you know how different foods affect mood?

Just remember what happens to you right after you gulp that cuppa coffee. Or, how do you feel after you drink alcohol? Do you feel the rush after you eat too much sugar? Or having bread, or sweets soothes you when rattled? Chances are you might answer most of these questions in the affirmative. The food we eat not only impacts our physical health, but it also has a close association with our mind too. And to understand how some common foods affect mood, Onlymyhealth spoke to Dt Ashish Rani, Consultant- Nutrition and Dietetics, HCMCT Manipal Hospital, Dwarka.

How Different Foods Affect Mood?

(Photo Credit: Freepik)

Let’s take a look at how these eight different foods affect the mood:


Most of us start our day with a cup of tea or coffee, both of which contain caffeine.

  • Caffeine, which is present in tea leaves and coffee, stimulates the nervous system, giving you a boost of energy, and making you awake.
  • Right after you consume it, you suddenly start feeling more active to perform tasks.
  • Consuming tea or coffee in control isn’t bad. In fact, it can even be beneficial for health as it helps your body get rid of the extra salt and water through urination.
  • However, drinking excessive amounts of caffeine releases acid in the stomach, which can lead to an upset stomach or heart burning.
  • It can also alleviate the blood pressure level.

Hence, it is better to keep your caffeine intake limited.


This is another beverage that impacts the mood massively.

  • Limited intake of alcohol for medication is sometimes recommended. 
  • Drinking alcohol might give you some anxiety-free moments, hence, it might seem good. However, daily consumption of alcohol is not recommended as it can lead to addiction.
  • Syrups for treating cough contain alcohol, but in faint amounts, which can help release stress.


Whether you have a sweet tooth or not, having a sweet in times of stress can be extremely relaxing. Many cannot do without sugar for even a single day.

  • Sugar is a simple carb, said Dr Rani. When consumed in limited amounts, it gives you a boost of energy. 
  • Also eating sweets triggers the release of dopamine, which is the happy hormone. It makes you feel relaxed, and hence, your body craves for more. 
  • However, consuming sugar in limited amounts as regular and/or excessive consumption negatively impacts health and leads to weight gain.


Carbohydrates, contained in food items such as bread rice, is the primary source of energy for both your body as well as mind.

  • Your body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose, which is the main source of energy for your body. 
  • These can be classified as simple and complex. 
  • Simple carbs, contained in rice and refined cereals, provide energy to the brain, which is necessary, said Dr Rani.
  • Complex carbs, contained in atta bread, brown rice, multigrain, whole grains, legumes, are healthy. However, those contained in processed and packaged foods harm your health. 


Being an extremely rich source of protein, eggs are generally recommended to be consumed on a regular basis.

  • As you already know, proteins help in muscle buildup.
  • It’s good for the bones.
  • Protein also induces the feeling of satiety, making you feel full, thus, aiding weight management/loss.
  • This macronutrient is also believed to make you alert.


(Photo Credit: Freepik)

Although many parents banish their kids from eating chocolates, when consumed in moderation, it can have positive health impacts.

  • It causes the release of endorphins, which stimulate the brain.
  • Dark chocolate is also a rich source of antioxidants.
  • It is also believed to help in managing blood pressure, as well as reducing the risk of heart diseases, as per a leading health website.

Narcotic Drugs

We all are aware of the menace of the abuse of narcotic drugs.

  • However, many times doctors prescribe it for medical reasons, such as in relieving anxiety.
  • Long-term use of these drugs can adversely affect health. It can lead to dependence and addiction, and can also affect the central nervous system.


Experts recommend the daily intake of fresh fruits.

  • These are extremely healthy and an excellent source of vitamins, antioxidants, and nutrients. 
  • It’s best if you eat seasonal fruits.
  • However, overeating any particular food can have adverse effects.
Also read: Do Colours Affect Our Mood? Expert Weighs In

Foods To Avoid While Suffering From A Mental Health Issue

(Photo Credit: Unsplash)

As you saw, food has such a close association with your brain, and hence, your mood. Thus, it is better to avoid certain food items while dealing with a mental health issue. Such food items include:

  • Packaged and processed foods.
  • Excessive amounts of sugar harm the body in the long run. Avoid refined sugar in the form of soda, processed juices, or energy drinks. 
  • Avoid alcohol as it can affect the sleeping cycle. 
  • You should also avoid caffeine, if possible, as it can make you more nervous or anxious.
Also read: Feeling Low? Having These 8 Foods Can Boost Your Mood

Hence, as you can see, foods have such a close association with your mood. Hence, while making food choices, not only should you consider your physical health, take your mood into account as well. Then, there are foods that can aggravate certain mental health conditions. Hence, it is better to avoid those when dealing with any such condition.

(With inputs from Dr Ashish Rani, Consultant- Nutrition and Dietetics, HCMCT Manipal Hospital, Dwarka)



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