Foods to Boost your Mood!
Can you eat your way to health and happiness?
A balanced diet full of a variety of whole foods will contribute to good health, energy levels and reduce the risk of certain diseases. But there's also growing evidence of the impact of certain nutrients in how we feel.
Although many other lifestyle factors including exercise, sleep and stress will have a huge impact on our mood, some foods may improve overall brain health and certain types of mood disorders. So instead of reaching for a sugary pick-me-up, try one of these foods to give you a healthy boost!
A is for avocado - While many fruits are high in carbohydrates, avocado is a great source of healthy unsaturated fats and is incredibly nutritious. It's also high in folate or vitamin B9, and studies have found an association between low levels of folate and mood disorders such as depression.
Smash onto toast with a sprinkling of chilli flakes and top with a poached egg for a filling snack.
B is for berries - Full of vitamins and antioxidants which can affect your energy, mood and brain function. A diet rich in antioxidants may help manage inflammation associated with depression and other mood disorders.
Fresh berries are delicious on their own, in natural yoghurt, or buy frozen for convenience to use in a smoothie.
C is for chickpeas - A great source of fibre and plant-based protein which can help keep our energy levels stable throughout the day. Chickpeas are also full of B vitamins, which help improve mood by increasing levels of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, both of which are important for regulating mood. They also contain folate, manganese and iron, which could play a part in boosting your mood.
Hummus is a great go-to snack with carrot, celery or cucumber sticks, oat cakes or toasted wholemeal pitta strips.
D is for dark chocolate - You probably don’t need to be told that chocolate makes us feel good…! It contains flavonoid, a polyphenol, which has been shown to boost brain health, and may support mood regulation. It's rich in compounds which are thought to increase feel good chemicals in the brain such as serotonin (a well-known general mood lifter) and endorphins (known to decrease levels of both stress and pain).
Choose chocolate containing 70% or above cocoa solids rather than milk or white, as these contain high amounts of added sugar, and you might find that 1 or 2 squares is satisfying enough!
E is for eggs - A good source of protein to keep us feeling fuller for longer, and contains an amino acid called tryptophan which studies have shown can improve mood. Eggs also contain a small amount of vitamin D which may increase serotonin production and release a neurotransmitter which boosts mood and choline, a nutrient important in mood control.
Spice up your everyday poached eggs and serve on toasted wholemeal sourdough bread, spread with cream cheese and pesto, and top with wilted spinach, cherry tomatoes or avocado.
F is for fermented foods - There is growing evidence to suggest that foods such as kimchi, yoghurt, kefir, kombucha, and sauerkraut could improve our gut health and mood. These foods produce probiotics – live microorganisms that can support the growth of healthy and beneficial gut bacteria and may increase serotonin, an important chemical that can improve your mood.
Choose natural yoghurt with ‘live and active cultures’, kefir with no added sugars and unpasteurised and organic sauerkraut. Kimchi is a classic Korean dish using fermented vegetables and spices, tempeh is made from fermented soybeans, and kombucha is a fermented tea-based drink. These can often be found in health food shops.
Why not add some of these foods to your diet to help you feel your best, and give you something to really smile about...!
For more mood boosting foods and recipes, download my free guide '10 simple and healthy snacks to boost your mood' at livewellbewellcoaching.com
If you would benefit from some extra support in making healthy food and activity choices and building healthier habits, get in touch here. I can provide you with personalised nutrition knowledge, help you take simple, realistic and enjoyable action steps and enable you to make nutrition and lifestyle changes for your long-term health.
A recent client said "Philippa provides fantastic nutritional packages, which give very easy-to-follow steps, and this has transformed my diet - I've notice a change already. It’s great to know exactly what to change, rather than guessing at what will work, and it has formed a blueprint for the future for much better nutrition."