If you've ever opened your refrigerator and thought, "What am I in the mood for?" you have intuitively acknowledged what researchers have begun to explain scientifically - that food and mood are intimately connected in biochemical, as well as emotional, ways.

Although the science is still relatively new, research has begun to reveal how conscious eaters can choose their fuel to help achieve or maintain a desired mental state.Our moods are linked to the production or use of certain brain chemicals, scientists have identified many of the natural chemicals in foods that change the way we feel. Food influences neurotransmitters by attaching to brain cells and changing the way they behave. This opens pathways to those cells so that other mood-altering chemicals can come through the gates and attach themselves to brain cells.

So the next time you want to change your mood, take a walk to the kitchen! It might just save you a trip to the therapist!

When you want to feel alert and energetic:

Dopamine and norephinephrine produce a feeling of alertness, an increased ability to concentrate and faster reaction times.Levels of dopamine and norepinephrine are increased by the consumption of protein rich foods. Try beans, meat, chicken, fish, cheese.For example, have tuna fish for lunch to be alert in the afternoon.

When you want to chill out and relax

: Serotonin production in the brain has been associated with a more calming, anxiety-reducing effect and even drowsiness in some people. Cereal with milk

When you want to feel happy:

Simple carbs that lack protein or fat allow an amino acid called tryptophan to flood your brain, where it morphs into serotonin and boosts your mood.

Try whole wheat toast with strawberry jam.

Try Bananas, milk, chicken and leafy greens.

To ease feeling of depression:

Eat more fish!

When you want to feel frisky/more sexual:

Asparagus

Zinc has been linked to male fertility, potency, sex drive, sustained sexual health and is essential to sperm production. The daily requirement for zinc can be gained by eating just one oyster so imagine what serving your boyfriend an appetizer of a few oysters could do... schwing! If oysters aren't his thing, turkey, lean beef, and beans are other good sources of zinc.

When you feel fatigued:

Drink water!

To get out of a bad mood:

A lack of selenium can cause bad moods. Individual suffering from too little selenium have been shown to be more anxious, irritable, hostile and depressed than people with normal levels of selenium. Good sources of selenium include Brazil nuts, tuna, sunflower seeds and whole-grain cereals.

Tanya Zuckerbrot, MS, RD

is a nutritionist and the creator of The F-Factor DietaC/, an innovative nutritional program she has used for more than ten years to provide hundreds of her clients with all the tools they need to achieve easy weight loss and maintenance, improved health and well-being. For more information log onto

www.FFactorDiet.com

.

Tanya Zuckerbrot MS, RD, is a Registered Dietitian in New York City and the author of two bestselling diet books: The F-Factor Diet and The Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories and Fat Disappear – with Fiber.

Subscribe to Tanya’s FREE Weekly Newsletter and follow her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. To learn more about Tanya’s private nutrition counseling services visit www.ffactor.com.