Are you feeling down in the dumps? Are you anxious, irritated and generally in a foul mood? Before you reach for your favourite pick-me-up snack in a desperate attempt to feel better, read this.
A significant number of studies confirms that what you put into your mouth could have a huge impact on your mood.
Whereas some foods can help boost the feel-good hormones and lift your mood, others can do the opposite and raise your anxiety and stress levels.
Eat yourself happy with these six foods:
Grab a banana. Bananas are rich in tryptophan, a type of protein that your body converts into serotonin, which helps to relax you, improve your mood and generally make you feel much happier. Bananas are also rich in vitamins and minerals such as potassium and iron which help to stabilise your mood and beat fatigue.
Eat some Brazil nuts, which are rich in the mineral selenium. Studies have shown that people with low levels of selenium are more depressed, irritable, anxious and tired. Just three Brazil nuts a day will do the trick.
Indulge in some dark chocolate, which is rich in flavonoids, an antioxidant that increases the blood-flow to the brain and provides an instant boost in concentration and energy. Dark chocolate is also loaded with compounds such as phenylethylamine, tyramine, tryptophan and magnesium which boost your mood by releasing serotonin in the brain and mood-elevating endorphins in the body.
Go for omega-3 fats. Your brain is 60% fat and particularly loves omega-3 fatty acids as they improve memory and focus and help fight off depression and mood swings. Oily fish (such as salmon, mackerel and sardines) is rich in omega-3 fats. Other foods rich in omega-3 include walnuts, flaxseed and soybeans.
Tuck into whole grains. Oats, whole-wheat bread and other whole grains are very effective mood boosters. Whole grains have a low glycaemic index which means that they slowly release energy into our bloodstream, sustain your energy levels and give your brain a constant supply of glucose – boosting memory, alertness, concentration and mood. Whole grains also trigger the release of serotonin which helps to stabilise your mood and keep you calm.
Snack on berries such as blackberries, blueberries, cranberries, raspberries and strawberries. These sweet little treats are rich in antioxidants and the B-vitamin folate which help reduce stress and depression by increasing the happiness hormone serotonin and improving memory and concentration.
This is my last blog post as Diet Editor of Health24. I wish you good health and happiness.
Remember, life’ s too short not to enjoy good food and company. Just make sure that you don’t overdo anything. Start your day with breakfast, enjoy fruit and veggies with every meal, limit your salt, fat and sugar intake, get some exercise every day and you will be fine.