Eat your way to happiness with mood-boosting foods
The Vital Touch Barcelona offers many wellness workshops and this year our nutrition topics are proving to be a much interest to companies offering wellbeing in the workplace to their staff. One of our topics is mood boosting nutrients that we can find in our fridge. But what exactly are mood-boosting nutrients and what foods contain them. Nutrients are found in foods, so think of foods high in vitamin C, B6, Omega 3 fats, zinc, magnesium, selenium and folate – all of which are found to make a significant contribution to supporting healthy brain function and to fight depression, and mood disorders.
To keep fit and well, not only try to be outside to exercise and get your daily dose of vitamin D, also try to avoid heavily caffeinated drinks, refined sugars and too much alcohol. Alcohol is a well known depressant. What you eat and drink plays a vital role in how you feel, so while sweet cakes and chocolate might lift your mood, chances are it will only be a temporary fix. To really kickstart your feel-good hormones and help you embrace each day with a spring in your step, along with eating plenty of vegetable and fruit (and drinking lots of water), make a few simple changes to your shopping list to include mood-boosting foods and see the difference your diet can make to your mental health.
Nuts, and in particular Brazil nuts, are a great source of zinc and the mineral selenium, which studies show people who have a low count of selenium have increased rates of irritability, anxiety and tiredness. All it takes is a small handful of nuts, including 3 to 4 Brazil nuts eaten as a snack daily, or added to salads, to implement your daily dose of selenium.
Oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines are high in omega 3 fatty acids. Eat at least one serving of 140g a week to keep up your levels to improve brain health and keep brain cells flexible, so the brain’s messaging chemicals (the neurotransmitters) can work more effectively. Mackerel on toast for a brain boosting breakfast can keep you firing on all cylinders all day!
Oats are an effective mood booster because of their low glycaemic index (GI). They slowly release energy into the blood stream, which keeps blood sugar stable, helping mood swings – as oppose to that sugar rush which dips quickly leaving you feeling more irritable. Oats also include selenium mentioned above. A good breakfast of porridge oats mixed with nuts can help you keep your good mood going for the day.
Lean chicken and turkey breast help to increase your intake of the amino acid called tryptophan which the body uses to make serotonin – one of the most important neurotransmitters when it comes to mood and it also helps make the hormone melatonin – which regulates sleep. You can use these meats in all sorts of meals and snacks.
Leafy green vegetables such as spinach or broccoli contain magnesium and excellent B vitamins, including folate. Keeping up your intake of greens aids the production of serotonin.
And let’s not forget the humble banana. Bananas also contain tryptophan as well as vitamins A, B6 and C, fibre, potassium, phosphorous, iron and carbohydrates. Carbs aid the absorption of tryptophan in the brain and vitamin B6 converts the amino acid into the mood lifting hormone serotonin. Because of its ability to raise serotonin levels, tryptophan has been used in the treatment of a variety of conditions including insomnia and anxiety. Go Bananas – literally! To find out more about our Nutrition Wellness Workshops, contact us…