Food Health & Wellness

Do certain foods affect your mood?

Eating your way to a happy 2019. Turn that frown upside down with wholesome foods from mother earth.

By Taryn Dekel

We all know how junk foods and excess sugar can affect our bodies, but did you stop to think about how food can give you a proper pick me up? Instead of the temporary highs and inevitable sugar lows, add these foods to your nutritional feel-good strategy.

HOW TO BOOST YOUR MOOD WITH THESE 8 FOODS

  1. FISH

Fish contains high amounts of omega 3 fatty acids which your brain needs to function optimally. Increase your
intake of oily fish such as salmon, sardines, mackerel and trout to alleviate anxiety and give you the upper hand on stress.

2. DARK CHOCOLATE

Many of you will be happy to have this one on the list, and it’s not hard to understand why. A small square of dark chocolate can cause the brain to release endorphins and boost serotonin levels. Dark chocolate is also full of protein and fibre. Keep in mind that it must be 70% cocoa to be an effective mood booster.

3. PUMP UP YOUR MUSSELS

Mussels are loaded with vitamin B12, which is great because it helps insulate your brain cells preventing degeneration. They also contain the trace nutrients of zinc, iodine and selenium which are all good at keeping your mood-regulating thyroid in shape.

4. BERRIES

Berries are packed with antioxidants which are famous for brain health.
They’re also low on the glycemic index so you don’t have to worry about your sugar levels spiking. Their water and fibre content will keep you regular which automatically improves your mood but also your gut health. A cup a day is all you need. Add them
to smoothies, oatmeal and even ice cream.

5. OATS

Oats is an effective mood booster because of their low glycaemic index as they slowly release energy into your bloodstream, which keeps your blood sugar levels stable. Oats also contain a mineral called selenium which is famous for its mood boosting properties. Half a cup of oats is all you need to get a good head start, add some nuts or yoghurt for added protein.

6. WATER

You might be surprised to see this one on the list, but water is important for overall body function. The smallest degree of water loss can impair your physical and mental well-being. Dehydration can affect your ability to concentrate and the resulting fatigue won’t score you any good mood
points. Aim for 1-2L of water per day. Make things exciting by adding a slice of lemon, a sprig of fresh mint, cucumbers or strawberries.

7. HERBAL TEA

Herbal teas such as chamomile have calming properties. Black,
green and rooibos teas are also rich in antioxidants, which can relieve stress and lifts
your spirits.

8. BEANS & OTHER LEGUMES

Beans and other legumes are packed with vitamin Bs, such as B6, B12, and folic acid—all of which help you to regulate your sleep-wake cycles and boost your natural levels of serotonin, a feel-good, relaxing hormone.

FOODS TO AVOID OR LIMIT

Refined carbs, simple sugars, candy and soda might satisfy your taste buds, but they won’t help you in the long run. Avoid mood swings, fatigue and dehydration by decreasing your intake of caffeine, alcohol, sugar and refined white starches such as white rice, white bread and crackers.

DID YOU KNOW?

Foods can lift your mood and help you get some shut-eye. If you’re battling with insomnia or restless sleep, try bananas or some whole grains. Bananas are high in potassium which is essential for a good night’s rest. Whole grains encourage the production of insulin which in turn produces an amino acid which relaxes the brain. Feeling
rested will also add to your general good mood, so get snacking! Small and steady changes to your diet can have a huge impact on your overall mental health. Before you make any drastic changes to your diet, speak to your healthcare practitioner, especially if you have any chronic illnesses such as diabetes or high blood pressure.
Happy snacking!

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