Low glycemic foods, chocolate, and food that has high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, tryptophan, folate and other B vitamins, have all been studied to evaluate their impact on mood. Results vary from study to study, but there usually appears to be an association between these foods and improved mood. In this experiment, you will evaluate how a diet that is rich in these “mood-enhancing” foods affects the way people feel over several weeks.
This experiment will evaluate if mood can be improved by altering diet to include certain “feel good” foods.
- “Mood-elevating” food
- Approximately 30 test subjects
- Notebook for analyzing results
- Research food that is believed to improve mood.
- Create a survey to give your test subjects three times during one week that provides a quantification of their overall mood. Example questions could include: On a scale of 1 to 10, how relaxed do you feel? On a scale of 1 to 10, how satisfied are you with your life? On a scale of 1 to 10, rate your current energy level.
- Average each test subject’s answers for the week to get an idea of their “baseline” mood. A higher score should indicate a better baseline mood.
- Ask half of your test subjects to change their diet for approximately 3 weeks to include an increased amount of the mood-enhancing food you learned about in your research. Ask this group to keep a food diary so that you have an idea of how well each test subject adhered to the “new” diet. The other half of your test subjects should follow their usual diet.
- Ask all of your test subjects to repeat the survey once a week. Average the answers to each test subject’s survey each week to get a number that represents their mood for that week. At the end of the three weeks, analyze your results. How much of an effect (if any) does food/diet appear to have on mood? Do those who altered their diets report greater improvement in mood compared to the group that continued their normal diet?