Beat the January blues with foods to boost your mood.
Much research has been undertaken on the impact your diet can have on your mood and mental health. There are certain superfoods which have a positive effect on your mental wellbeing, but first things first, the most important thing is to get the basics right, which includes cutting out all:
1. PROCESSED FOODS – anything pre-prepared.
It is just as important to concentrate on what you don’t eat, as what you do. If you suffer with anxiety and depression then also remove gluten. Gluten has been linked to a greater risk of anxiety and depression.
Now for the mood boosting superfoods that you have been waiting for:
1. OILY FISH – Wild Alaskan salmon, anchovies and sardines. These oily fish are high in the omega 3 essential fatty acid called EPA. Studies have shown that patients given a high dose of EPA showed a significant reduction in anxiety compared to those receiving a placebo. Even in individuals who don’t struggle with anxiety, when taking a high dose of EPA they appear to feel happier and in a better state to cope with stress. In summary, increasing your omega 3 intake from eating quality oily fish or taking a recommended supplement, can reduce anxiety and depression and improve your happiness levels.
2. TRYPTOPHAN RICH FOODS – Eggs, spirulina, sunflower seeds, poultry and oats are all high in the amino acid, tryptophan. It is the precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin, which contributes to our feelings of well-being and happiness, also termed the ‘happiness hormone’.
3. GREEN LEAFY VEGEATBLES – spinach, kale, mustard greens, swiss chard. These are all rich in the B vitamin, folate, low levels of which are linked to depression. Opt for organic where possible.
4. VITAMIN B12 – fish, meat, poultry and eggs are good sources, vegans therefore need to supplement with quality methylated B12. Vitamin B12 plays a role in your serotonin (happy hormone) production and therefore low levels of B12 have been linked to depression. B12 deficiency can result from a low dietary intake as well as a limited ability to absorb the vitamin. Something called Intrinsic Factor is essential for absorption of B12. Intrinsic Factor is produced by cells in the stomach lining but if levels are low then B12 blood levels will more than likely be low too. The point is that there are a few more factors to consider if your B12 levels are low, but eating B12 rich foods is a good start. If you are concerned about your levels, B12 testing can be carried out. Contact me if you are concerned and would like to know more about this.
5. DARK CHOCOLATE – 80% cocoa or more. Dark chocolate is high in flavanols which are great for your brain, and the darker the better. Flavanols have significant antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties helping to reduce memory loss, regulate your mood and help with depression.
6. KOMBUCHA – this is the ‘piece de resistance’. It is a fermented fizzy tea that contains beneficial bacteria that promote optimal gut health which is linked to improved mental health. It regulates the gut-brain communication promoting an optimal feeling of wellbeing due to the brain boosting neurotransmitters that it produces such as serotonin and dopamine. As well as all these fantastic qualities, it also contains high levels of B vitamins, particularly B12 which contributes to overall mental wellbeing. If you are vegetarian or vegan then Kombucha is a great source of B12 for you.
I am holding a Komucha workshop on 10th January where you can learn the many benefits of Kombucha and leave with your own Komucha starter kit to start making your own at home. Less than £20 for the workshop, click here for more info and to book your place.
For any further information please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07850897304.
HAPPY NEW YEAR! Wishing you a healthy and happy year ahead x