Food has a HUGE ability to influence your mood – for better and for worse. When the cold and dull January weather is getting you down and the New Year resolutions are a distant memory, it’s easy to self-medicate by binging on comforting carbs and sugary snacks. This short term fix won’t shake those January blues, in-fact you will most likely crash and end up feeling worse. Instead, integrate more of Mother Nature’s good mood foods into your meals to get your mojo back!
Keep this list of all-natural, science-backed mood boosters on hand for when you need to add some brightness to a gloomy day and want to eat your troubles away…
MOTHER NATURES GOOD MOOD FOODS
I know, it’s almost too good to be true, but there is a reason why chocolate always seems to make things better! Raw chocolate, or Cacao Beans, are among the richest natural source of antioxidants that, improve blood flow to our brain resulting in increased concentration and focus. Cacao also contains Magnesium, an essential nutrient required for the biochemical reactions in the brain that boost your energy levels – no wonder it’s known as a superfood. Just one small square of dark chocolate (70% cacao) will cause the brain to release endorphins and boost serotonin levels.
Try this smoothie for a serotonin boost: Blend together 2 tsp raw cacao powder, 1 banana, 100ml almond milk, ½ tsp maca powder, 1 tbsp chia seeds, pinch of ground cinnamon and 1 tbsp soy yogurt.
Brazil nuts are by far the richest source of selenium, an essential nutrient for humans. Low levels of selenium have been linked to anxiety and tiredness, so increasing the levels of this mineral in your body may help to improve your mood, especially if you are deficient. Just 4 nuts per day will provide you with your recommended amount of this mineral.
Bananas contain vitamins A, B6 and C, fibre, potassium, phosphorous, iron and carbohydrate. The carbohydrates in Banana aid in the absorption of tryptophan in the brain, and the vitamin B6 helps convert the tryptophan into serotonin. This helps to boost your mood and also aids sleep.
Lentils are another complex carbohydrate that help increase the production of serotonin in the brain. They also help to stabilise your blood sugar levels, keeping your mood even. And finally, lentils can help boost your iron levels, which will give you a nice shot of energy.
Spinach, brussel sprouts, asparagus and other dark green leafy vegetables are high in essential B vitamin, folate. This nutrient helps create feel-good brain chemicals. Harvard researchers found that boosting the folate levels of depressed patients helped improve their mood. Have more green juices, stir spinach into your curries/soups/stews and order a side of greens when you’re eating out.
FEEL GOOD TIPS
Make sure you eat regularly and have a healthy snack on hand, as if your blood-sugar dips you may notice you feel irritable, tired and depressed. To keep your sugar level steady choose foods that release energy slowly such as protein foods, oats and wholegrains, nuts and seeds.
For years, studies have looked into the effect of vitamins and minerals on physical and mental wellbeing. A deficiency in certain nutrients can lead to feelings of depression, fatigue and a general lack of enthusiasm. However, making key nutrients a regular part of your diet can work to reduce mood swings and boost your mood. If in doubt – eat the rainbow!
Keeping your mind and body nourished with good food is just the start. Feeling happy and relaxed is about keeping those little things in check. Stretch, breathe deep, get some fresh air, walk in nature, laugh with friends, meditate, and read a chapter of that book you’ve wanted to start for ages…
Sending you some good mood food vibes,