Nutrition and mental health
Mood boosting foods to brighten your day
We all get those days when we feel unnaturally blue and fed up - lacking in energy and optimism and wishing we could just go back to bed.
At times like these junk food and sugary treats can seem like the only options for boosting mood and getting you through the day. While these may bring temporary relief, in the long-term they could make you feel worse.
Studies have shown that tucking into healthier foods such as fruits and vegetables are far more beneficial for making you feel better all round.
So make sure you stock up on the following to ensure you make the best food choices for your feelings:
Whenever you can, add some asparagus to a home-cooked meal. These veggies are high in protein, vitamin B6 and most significantly, folic acid - which is a natural mood lightener.
Oats are highly nutritious - packed full of fibre, B vitamins, magnesium and potassium - and have also been found to help reduce anxiety and symptoms of depression. If you don't have time to whip up some porridge in the morning, try soaking a handful of oats overnight in a mixture of natural yoghurt and berries.
Rich in protein, vitamin B6 and magnesium, chickpeas are a valuable addition to anyone's diet. While the vitamin B6 works to combat low energy, protein triggers the production of mood-boosting hormones, serotonin and dopamine.
Coconut fats are essential brain food - containing two key ingredients linked directly to happiness and lower anxiety. These are lauric acid and medium-chain-triglycerides (MCTs). Buying raw, organic, extra virgin coconut oil is the best option and you can use it in cooking, add it to your coffee, or smooth it on toast as a dairy-free alternative to butter.
If you like snacking on nuts, choose cashews for their nutritional, mood-boosting goodness. These nuts contain high levels of healthy fats, iron and vitamin B6. You can also enjoy them in the form of cashew butter.
Berries are one of the best options for one of your five-a-day, as they are not only high in antioxidants, but also help to keep your blood sugar levels steady. Their fibre and water content also aids digestion, which is vital for a happy mood.
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