good-mood foods

Diet plays a big role in how happy you are, so with the help of di­eti­tian He­len Bond, we’ve got the foods to help you smile

Essentials (South Africa) - - CONTENTS NOVEMBER 2018 -

Diet plays a big role in how happy you are, so try these foods to help you smile

If your spir­its are in need of a lift, look no fur­ther than your kitchen. While you may be tempted to grab the sug­ary treats, reach for these health­ier op­tions that prom­ise to boost your mood* (and health!) in­stead... 1. Sal­mon

This power food is packed with vi­ta­min B12, which is vi­tal for steer­ing clear of de­pres­sion and main­tain­ing men­tal health. Sal­mon also con­tains mood-sta­bil­is­ing fatty acids. He­len re­veals that omega-3 fats, es­pe­cially DHA (do­cosa­hex­aenoic acid, a type of omega-3 fatty acid that’s a com­po­nent of ev­ery cell in your body) are highly con­cen­trated in the brain and are im­por­tant for nor­mal brain func­tion and over­all men­tal health.

2. Straw­ber­ries Ahh, a sum­mer favourite! They taste great and are rich in vi­ta­min C, which, new stud­ies show, may play a role in reg­u­lat­ing mood.

3. Oats

‘ Whole­grain carbs re­lease their en­ergy slowly, keep­ing blood-sugar lev­els steady – so they’re bet­ter for re­fu­elling the brain and en­hanc­ing mood,’ says He­len.

4. Lentils

Lentils are rich in fo­late (vi­ta­min B9), which may show prom­ise in help­ing to ease de­pres­sion symp­toms. Stud­ies show that fo­late helps break down the amino acid ho­mo­cys­teine (high lev­els may be linked to de­pres­sion).

5. Av oca­dos

These pro­tect your heart, are packed with fi­bre, and have been shown to act as nat­u­ral hor­mone bal­ancers in women, which al­lows your brain to make the right chem­i­cals needed to en­sure you feel good.

6. Chicken & tur­key

Both chicken and tur­key are a good source of mood-boost­ing tryp­to­phan. This amino acid helps in­crease mela­tonin lev­els in the brain, which reg­u­lates sleep and is vi­tal for a healthy mind and body.

7. Ba­nanas

Like poul­try, this fab lunch­box filler is also packed with tryp­to­phan, along with vi­ta­mins B6 and C, plus potas­sium – a great all-rounder!

8. Raw nuts

He­len ex­plains, ‘All nuts are rich in plant pro­tein, fi­bre, un­sat­u­rated fats, vi­ta­min E, and mag­ne­sium – which is im­por­tant for psy­cho­log­i­cal well­be­ing.’ Stick to a small hand­ful, though!

9. Spinach

A great veg­gie that’s full of vi­ta­mins, spinach is also high in iron. He­len warns, ‘ Tired­ness, poor con­cen­tra­tion and a low mood can be at­trib­uted to anaemia – an en­ergy-zap­ping con­di­tion that’s caused by low iron lev­els.’

10. Sesame seeds

Sesame seeds con­tain L-ty­ro­sine – an amino acid that helps boost dopamine lev­els in the brain. But how do we get them into our diet? Sprin­kle on sal­ads and soups, or add them to a smoothie.

11. Grapes

Full of an­tiox­i­dants, which have been found to af­fect mood. No over­dos­ing on wine, though! Stay happy with a bunch of fresh, red grapes in­stead.

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