While most people crave homely comfort food when they're feeling a bit blue, the heat of the summer can make stodgy, heavy foods a little too much to handle.
New research in the field of neuroscience and nutrition show that those who eat a diet of processed foods are more likely to develop depression, mood swings, anxiety, hyperactivity and other mental health problems.
Cooking food from natural ingredients is one way to bypass this risk and take care of the body and brain. Some great mood boosting foods include:
Packed with omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, salmon and other fatty fish could significantly improve overall mood and wellbeing. Research has revealed that these fats in particular can protect against depression and reduce anxiety.
Almonds are thought to contain high levels of a compound known as tyrosine. Tyrosine is one of the building blocks for the production of the 'feel good' hormone dopamine and other neuro-transmitters associated with food.
According to one study, apples are rich in a compound called quercetin, which is thought to protect brain cells against free-radicals which can damage the lining of the neurons and cause problems.
It's easy to incorporate these mood boosting foods into your daily diet in a number of imaginative ways. For example, you could have a poached egg and smoked salmon on wholemeal toast for breakfast, an apple for your mid-morning snack and a handful of almonds between lunch and dinner.
For something truly summery, BBQ some salmon fillets and slip into a pitta with salad, then make up a bowl of Greek yoghurt, honey, apple chunks and almonds for a thick, creamy, sweet and healthy pudding. Perfect!
For more information about the importance of nutrition, please visit our Healthy Eating page.
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