The days are shorter, the nights are colder and sometimes you don’t feel like getting out of bed, let alone leaving the house. So, what can you eat to lift your mood, brighten your spirits and nourish your soul?
A growing body of research shows that food can influence your mood by ensuring your brain has all the nutrients it needs. First of all, you need to ensure you are eating three meals a day, with a few snacks in between to help regulate your blood sugar and ensure a constant flow of nutrients to your brain. Your blood sugar drops when you haven’t eaten for several hours and this drop tends to make people anxious and moody. Always eat protein and carbohydrates at meals and snack time. Examples include hummous and carrots or yogurt and fruit. To keep your blood sugar levels stable, limit your intake of refined carbohydrates like processed fruit juice, crackers and white bread. Eat whole-grain alternatives, which get digested more slowly due to their high fibre content.
Include foods that are rich in Omega 3 fats, Vitamin B6 and folic acid. Research tells us Omega 3s are important for helping the symptoms of inflammation from conditions like arthritis and eczema and blocks brain chemicals that can cause sadness or depression-like feelings. Vitamin B6 helps the body make neurotransmitters, chemicals that carry signals from one nerve cell to another. These are needed for normal brain development and function, and help the body make the hormones serotonin and norepinephrine, which influence mood. Folic acid helps boost your mood and reduce fatigue by helping your body produce serotonin.
A few key foods to include in your diet:
High in Vitamin B6. Add diced avocados to salads or mash them up with some garlic and lemon juice to make guacamole. Or try the recipe for Chocolate Mousse below.
High in Vitamin B6 and folic acid. Buy low-salt canned chickpeas or soak your own. They can be added to salads, soups, stews and made into hummous or burgers. See recipe below.
3. Flax seeds:
High in Omega 3s. Grind flax seeds and sprinkle over cereal, oatmeal or yogurt or add to baked goods.
4. Leafy greens:
High in Vitamin B6 and folic acid. Add a handful to smoothies or soups or process with some garlic, nuts or seeds and olive oil to make pesto.
Other foods high in Omega 3s, Vitamin B6 and folic acid to keep your spirits up include: wild salmon and shrimp, beans and lentils, garlic, fruits and vegetables specifically beets and nuts and seeds like walnuts and sunflower seeds
TRY THIS RECIPE!
Avocado Chocolate Mousse
6 dates, pitted
1/2 ripe avocado
4 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla 1/2 ripe avocado 4 tbsp cocoa powder 1 tsp vanilla Place all ingredients in a food processor and purée until smooth. Add 1-2 tsp of water if mixture is too thick.
Place all ingredients in a food processor and purée until smooth. Add 1-2 tsp of water if mixture is too thick.