It is totally possible to boost your sense of well-being with the right kind of soul-nurturing foods. The main recommendation is to eat a low –glycaemic Mediterranean style diet, increase your fibre intake and avoid caffeine and alcohol. Here’s some type of food to include in your diet:
Dark green vegetables, such as collard greens, spinach, cabbages, watercress are a rich source of vitamin C and magnesium. Both are important in converting tryptophan and tyrosine amino acids to serotonin and dopamine – the neurotransmitters responsible for making us feel good. They also contain fibres, magnesium and vitamin B9, which have a positive impact on the nervous system.
NUTS AND SEEDS
The power of nuts and seeds can never be underestimated. Flax/chia/hemp/pumpkin seeds and walnuts are great sources of mood-boosting omega-3s, magnesium and fibre.
One of the highest natural sources of tryptophan, a couple of handfuls of cashews a day can keep the blues at bay. Almonds, which contain zinc (a major nutrient in maintaining a balanced mood), iron (which curtails brain fatigue) and healthy fats like coconut oil, (which reduce anxiety).
Renowned for promoting well-being, cacao contains phenylalanine (the same chemical generated by the brain when falling in love), causing the release of endorphins. Also, contains magnesium and antioxidant.
FOODS HIGH IN VITAMIN B
Research shows that Low levels of B group vitamins (B1, B3, B6, B9, and B12) contribute to low mood. Foods rich in B vitamins include legumes, nuts, seeds, brown rice, oats, dark green veggies (such as spinach and broccoli), and nutritional yeast.
The gut is one of the first indicators of health. In fact, most of the body’s serotonin (which is responsible for making you feel happy) is produced in the gut, not the brain. Consequently, the gut and the brain (and how you feel) are intrinsically linked. Nurture the intestines, provide them with ‘good bacteria’ and help them function to their utmost ability. Good sources include raw sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh, miso, and drinks like water kefir, coconut kefir and kombucha.
Omega-3 essential fatty acids are a must-have good mood food. High in docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), it allows maximum neurotransmitter function (serotonin) they also reduce inflammation in the body (causes of mood disorders), and improve cognitive function. Wild fish, such as salmon as well as sardine mackerel are good sources of Omega 3. Three servings of fatty fish should be consumed each week in order to experience its benefits. Consider, a supplement, like a krill oil. Other plant-based sources of healthy fats include seeds and unrefined, cold-pressed coconut oil.
Full of energy, vitamin B6, tryptophan, iron, magnesium and potassium, plus being a natural probiotic, high in fibre, and a regulator of blood sugar! In fact, eating one banana as a mid-morning snack will fuel the body with enough magnesium (a stress-reducer) for the entire day!
FOODS HIGH IN VITAMIN D
Boosting vitamin D can improve mood by enhancing the production of the happy hormone, serotonin. Synthesised by the body in response to sunlight, vitamin D can be found in foods such as oily fish, coconut milk, almond milk and mushrooms. Consider vitamin D3 supplement throughout winter.
Complex carbohydrates such as chickpeas, lentils, nuts, oats, brown rice, potatoes, sweet corn, wholegrain cereals, bananas and starchy vegetables have been shown to encourage the production of serotonin, and promote l well-being (unlike simple carbohydrates which are known to induce mood swings). They also have a high level of magnesium which is nature‘s relaxant.
Lastly, enjoy your food! Like a great partnership, you know you’ve found the right food if it makes your body feel supported, light, strong, and energised, in the moment and beyond.
Please note: these are just the basic few steps to promote good mood. The best approach would be to look at individual root causes and let your therapist design a tailored plan which may include supplements, and other special foods.