We are living in crazy diet times. There’s low carb/high fat, high protein/low fat, high fruit/high veg, no fruit/high veg – who can keep up?
Diet attempts can leave you feeling quite low in spirit and also spark insane cravings, but we have some healthy suggestions of food that will give your mood a smiling boost while handling cravings at the same time. Dealing with daily pressures can easily and quickly take its toll on our attitudes and that can often lead to craving those really unhealthy, deep fried, sweet and comforting food. But more often than not, these supposedly “comforting” foods have the very opposite effect on our moods. Food that’s high in sugar and saturated fats will raise your blood sugar levels quickly, but that means those levels crash quickly again, too. And once your sugar levels come crashing down, so does your mood and energy and you’ll feel hungry again!
Fortunately nature provided us with an abundance of foods that will cure any bad day and bad mood. Incorporate these healthy food items into your diet and you’ll soon enjoy the benefits; not only mentally, but physically too.
Strawberries, guava, oranges and mango – These fruit are all high in vitamin C which is a potent antioxidant. It has multiple benefits which include anti-depressant properties, the elimination of free radicals from the blood system and stress relief. Eat these fruit either on their own or in combinations for breakfast or pack them in for a snack at work.
Nuts and seeds
Nuts like almonds, walnuts, peanuts, pistachios and seeds like pumpkin and sunflower contain vast amounts of minerals and healthy oils like omega-3. Raw nuts and seeds are good for your mood, brain and heart. They contain healthy fibre that keep you satiated for longer, so be sure to always have a handful of raw nuts around – they make an excellent snack.
Barley is right at the top of wholesome, nutritious grains. It’s a complex carbohydrate which assists in feeling “full”, but also stimulates the release of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a “feel-good” hormone. Barley can be eaten at lunch time with the addition of raw or roasted vegetables. Stick to green vegetables like broccoli, asparagus and spinach. Add chilli or spices for flavour.
It is said that the crunching of celery as you’re eating it, relieves stress and results in relaxed blood vessels. Stress hormones in the blood are lowered by the chemical 3-n-butylphthalide which is present in celery. Celery, essentially, makes for the perfect snack food as you incidentally also burn more calories while chewing it than it contains.
Grass-fed meat, pulses and spices
High omega-3 levels in the blood can lower the risk of depression and grass-fed meat can effectively assist in increasing omega-3 in the blood. Couple that with pulses like beans and lentils which in turn can lower anxiety levels due to folate found in pulses. Incorporate spices for additional flavour – if food is seasoned correctly, you’ll eat less and feel more satisfied after a meal. Incidentally , fresh chillies are packed with vitamin C and add plenty flavour to any dish, so make sure to add some heat to your meals.
We can effectively eat our way to a healthy and happy state of mind and at the same time feel and look great physically. Strive to consuming food that is as close to it’s raw, natural state as possible for optimum nutrient benefit. Lower salt intake as much as possible and rather make use of natural flavourants like fresh ginger, lemon, herbs and spices. The most important thing to remember is that you need to enjoy your food. If you don’t look forward to what you’re about to consume, then you need to re-invent your menu. Keep it simple, seasonal and fresh.
Womens Health, 2014, Mood Boosting Foods, viewed on 20 June 2014, from http://www.womenshealthmag.com/nutrition/mood-boosting-foods
Barley: Health Plus 24, n.d., Natural wonder barley, viewed on 20 June 2014, from www.healthplus24.com/alternative-medicine/natural-wonders/barley.aspx