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SOME OF THE BEST MOOD-BOOSTING FOODS

SOME OF THE BEST MOOD-BOOSTING FOODS

THE BEST MOOD-BOOSTING FOODS

Our mood can be affected by many things we can’t control. Flat tyre, bad news, rubbish weather…but you do have control of your diet.

Too much sugar and inadequate nutrients can mess with your mood. In the short term, you can feel lethargic and experience mood swings. In the long run, you increase your risk of developing a mood disorder, like anxiety or depression.

While there’s no problem with indulging in sweet treats occasionally, it’s important that you make sure your daily diet is high in foods that help to elevate and maintain your mood. By improving your nutrition and eating enough of the right foods, you can help to protect your mental and physical health.

Start incorporating these foods into your daily diet today, and watch your mood improve over time!

HERE ARE 9 OF THE BEST:

GREEN TEA:


While I’ll always be a coffee-first kind of girl, you can’t deny the beauty of a nice cup of green tea. The ritual of making it can be therapeutic. There’s no instant gratification – you have to wait for your water to boil and then another few minutes for your tea to brew.

But did you know that green tea is scientifically proven to be good for your mental health? It contains a strong dose of L-theanine, an amino acid shown to help fight anxiety.

L-theanine improves brain function, relieves stress, improves mood, and helps to maintain a healthy sleep pattern.

This might seem counterintuitive at first, as green tea contains caffeine – often thought to give you the jitters and make you a bit anxious. Unlike a red bull, though, the caffeine levels in green tea are mild, and most people find it gives quite a slow and steady release of energy and focus.

You can find l-theanine caffeine-free supplements on the market if you avoid caffeine. However, the benefits of this amino acid are most potent when paired with a dose of caffeine.

You’ve probably heard about antioxidants, but do you know what they actually do?

Simply put, they help to fight inflammation in the body. If you supply your body with enough antioxidants, you’ll give your body the tools it needs to fight against oxidative stress. If you don’t, your body becomes inflamed, harmful compounds multiply, and your body becomes unbalanced. Consuming antioxidants helps your body recover from the stresses of everyday life, keeping you healthy and happy.

BERRIES

But it’s not just the antioxidants that make berries so powerful for your mood. They also contain a high source of anthocyanins. One study found that eating plenty of anthocyanins is linked to a 39% lower risk of depressive symptoms.

If you’re on a budget, consider buying frozen berries. They’re cheaper than buying fresh, last longer, and tend to be flash-frozen at their most ripe point, so they often taste better, too.

SPINACH

Spinach is an excellent source of magnesium, a nutrient that many people don’t get enough of.

This is crucial, as high magnesium levels have been linked to reduced anxiety. A diet high in magnesium has also been shown to help you maintain a healthy sleep pattern.

It’s not just magnesium that makes spinach so powerful. It’s also rich in folate, an amino acid shown to improve mood and even symptoms of depression. Like berries, it can be worth buying frozen spinach, as it’s often cheaper and more convenient than fresh. This makes it super easy to throw some into your smoothie!

FERMENTED FOODS: SAUERKRAUT, KOMBUCHA, KIMCHI, KEFIR

Gut health has been a hot topic recently, and rightly so. A wealth of research shows that a healthy gut balance is vital for maintaining our mental health.

To get probiotics into your diet, you should consume fermented foods such as kefir, kombucha, or sauerkraut. The fermentation process works by converting sugars into alcohol and acids: this process creates probiotics.

Probiotics support the growth of ‘good’ bacteria in your gut. This helps your body to produce serotonin, a crucial neurotransmitter that affects your mood, stress levels, appetite, and sex drive. In fact, recent studies suggest that up to 90% of your body’s serotonin is produced by your gut microbiome!

DARK CHOCOLATE

Note that this entry is for dark chocolate only.

Consuming dark chocolate releases caffeine, theobromine and N-acylethanolamine – which supposedly linked to an improved mood. This argument does need more research, though, as some experts argue that the levels in chocolate may not be enough to trigger a measurable response.

However, even if that’s the case, dark chocolate is still worth incorporating into your diet. Dark chocolate is loaded with flavonoids which increase blood flow to your brain, helping to reduce inflammation, and leading to better mood regulation.

Plus, it tastes great!

OATS

Most people in the Western world need more fibre in their diets. A regular serving of oats is a simple (and super affordable) way to get more in.

Fibre plays a surprisingly important role in mood regulation. One study found that participants who had a high source of fibre in the morning (by eating oats) had better overall mood and energy levels during the day (compared to participants who didn’t).

Researchers think this is because fibre helps to regulate our blood sugar levels.
Have you ever had a high-sugar meal and crashed an hour or two later? This is due to your blood sugar crashing, leaving you feeling irritable and tired.

Oats are also a great source of iron. This is particularly important for people who menstruate, as iron levels can dwindle as the body loses blood. Low iron can lead to fatigue, sluggishness, anxiety, and depression.

NUTS AND SEEDS

And what better to pair with your morning oats than some nuts and seeds?

Nuts and seeds are good sources of healthy fats that are essential for your health. They also contain high levels of tryptophan. This is an amino acid that helps to produce more of that all-important serotonin.

You can opt for almonds, peanuts, walnuts, or cashews – all of which work well in a nice bowl of oats or a smoothie. Add a scoop of pumpkin, sesame, hemp, or sunflower seeds, and reap the rewards.

Some seeds, like chia or flaxseed, are also a good source of plant-based omega-3

Bananas

In terms of cost vs benefit, it doesn’t get much better than the humble banana.

They’re high in vitamin B6, which helps to synthesise dopamine and serotonin, leading to an improved mood. It’s also a potent source of fibre.

It does contain a significant amount of sugar (about 16 grams). However, this isn’t equivalent to downing a can of Coca-Cola. When sugar from fruit is combined with fibre, it releases slowly into your bloodstream – instead of shocking the system.

This leads to stable blood sugar levels and improved mood control. Bananas are also a good source of prebiotics, which can help improve the health of your gut microbiome, leading to a healthy source of serotonin and an overall better mood.

VITAMIN B12

If you pick up a ‘natural’ energy drink in the supermarket and check out the ingredient list, you’ll notice it’s loaded with B vitamins. That’s because they are crucial in energy production. Consequently, having low levels of B vitamins, such as Vitamin B12, can lead to mood disorders like depression and anxiety.

B12 is naturally found in soil. However, as our modern agricultural practices involve washing our produce, we simply don’t get enough of it.

Small amounts of B12 can be found in mushrooms.

A good source of B12 is sea vegetables (kelp, algae, nori …)

In our diet we don`t consume enough of it, so a supplement is recommended for vegetarians, vegans and anyone over the age of 50 years.

B12 is found in animal products purely because they receive a B12 supplement

A liquid supplement is ideal for optimal absorption as the body can find tablets hard to absorb.

Fortunately, B12 is a super-affordable supplement – a low price to protect your mental health and boost your energy.

 Sources:

Compiled by Elliot McGuire from Vivo Life

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