Good Mood Food
This month, with World Meditation Day happening on 21st May, we want to focus in on the relationship between food and mood and how, with the right nutrition, you can eat yourself happy.
The foods we eat and even meal timings can make a huge difference to being able to deal with stress with greater resilience and even a sense of calm, so if you're feeling a bit frazzled and in need of some inner zen here's our top foody tips:
Balance blood sugar
Glucose is the brains preferred source of fuel and if your blood sugar is more up and down than a go on a rollercoaster aim for regular meals and snacks combining carbohydrates with protein and healthy fats to slow digestion and provide a steady stream of energy for your brain.
Choose complex carbs
Unrefined whole grains are broken down gradually by the digestive system, helping to stabilise blood glucose and provide an array of vitamins and minerals, including B vits – essential for energy.
Eat yourself happy
Choose foods that boost 'happy hormones' and support the stress response - fish, poultry, eggs, soy foods, cheese, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, spirulina, beans and pulses, avocados, bananas, oats and brown rice all contain key building blocks for chemicals involved in mental wellbeing such as serotonin, dopamine, adrenaline and noradrenaline.
Load up on omega 3
Our brain is around 60% fat and omega 3 helps with physical and mental alertness, concentration and increases dopamine, which has potent mood lifting powers and is linked to motivation and stress management. Oily fish, flax and chia seeds and walnuts are all good sources.
When we're stressed B vitamins are quickly used up with low levels linked to a lack of energy and depression. Add in green leafy veg, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables. B12 is particularly important for the nervous system and for vegans, supplementing is recommended.
With around 90% synthesised in our skin through exposure to sunlight, it's impossible to get enough through our diet. You might like to try our Mango & Passionfruit flavoured 'sunshine in a bottle'.
A healthy gut = balanced mood
Gastrointestinal issues are linked to higher risk of mood imbalances, anxiety, brain fog & depression. Be sure to include prebiotic & probiotic foods in your diet including leeks, onions, garlic, asparagus, chicory, bananas & fermented foods yoghurt, kefir, miso & sauerkraut.
Treat yourself to stress busting superfoods:
Colourful fruit, berries and vegetables, dark chocolate and some wines are hight in 'flavonoids' which have brain protective properties. Chocolate - magnesium is something of a wonder mineral, known as 'nature's relaxant'. It is equally important for energy production, so you have our blessing to enjoy a couple of squares of dark chocolate every day... just don't overdo it late at night as too much caffeine may keep you awake (alternatively bath salts can be a great way to unwind).
Green tea contains a compound called 'l-theanine' which has a calming relaxing effect on the brain Vitamin C is quickly used up under stress so load up on green leafy veg, broccoli, oranges, kiwis, strawberries or a bottle of Get More Vits!