Given the enormity of what’s going on at the moment it’s understandable that you’re probably reaching for those sugary high calorie treats to lift your spirits. Sugary, high calorie treats that you know have negative impacts of their own.
Whilst I’m all for the occasional sweet treat I think now is a good time to educate ourselves on Mood Food – food that has been shown to improve overall brain health and which can lay claim to boosting your mood.
I’ve listed my favourite Top 5 foods with simple explanations of their nutritional make up and benefit. I’ll be adding them to my next shopping list and hope you will too.
I’m going to start my list off with one of my favourites – dark chocolate. By that I mean a chocolate that is 70% or more cocoa solids. Just 1-2 squares a day can contribute to your mood. So what’s the “science-y” bit here?
In simple terms chocolate contains feel-good compounds that are linked to mood improvement. Admittedly there’s some debate as to whether the levels of compounds are sufficient enough to trigger this mood-boosting response – but the pleasurable taste, texture and smell (a high hedonic rating in the science world) may promote a good mood and a high content of flavonoids can increase blood flow and support mood regulation. Green n Black I’m coming for you!
2. FISH HIGH IN OMEGA-3
Add salmon, tuna or seafood to your next shopping list because they contain Omega-3. Essential for ensuring fluidity on your brain’s cell membrane Omega-3 can contribute to brain development and cell signalling.
Minions are nutritionally cleverer than you think you know! Bananas are high in Vitamin B6 which is responsible for creating neurotransmitters that regulate emotions including serotonin and dopamine. The combination of fibre and sugar in this fruit means a slow release into your bloodstream which can stabilise blood sugar levels and control mood.
Oats are an excellent source of fibre which slows down your digestion of carbs and allows a gradual release of sugar into your bloodstream to stabilise your energy and foods. Oats also contain iron which can counter fatigue and sluggishness.
5. NUTS & SEEDS
Particularly almonds, cashews, peanuts, walnuts, pumpkin, sesame and sunflower seeds. These contain healthy fats, proteins and fibre. They also contain tryptophan which is an amino acid that helps create the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin can help brain function influencing sleep, cognition and mood.