Thanks to rapid advances in the field of nutritional psychology, we now understand far more about how what we eat can affect our moods.
Chocolate may be the first thing that comes to mind but, no, the science-backed food fixes here are filled with nutrients that actually help top up the feel-good chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin. They may already be on your shopping list but you may want to start stockpiling them in the office or your handbag for those moments when you need a quick pick me up.
It’s a great source of omega-3, which helps maintain the health of the brain’s cell membranes and encourages release of ‘feel-good’ chemicals like dopamine and serotonin. Tip: you can also get omega-3 from walnuts and dark leafy greens.
Yoghurt is rich in a form of ‘good’ bacteria known as Lactobacillus. And there’s promising research suggesting that getting plenty of this bacteria may have a positive affect on depression. Add yoghurt to your menu but check the label to make sure it contains Lactobacillus acidophilus.
These nuts are a good source of the amino acid tryptophan, which is one of the building blocks of serotonin, thought to play a role in regulating your mood. You can also get tryptophan from foods like bananas and milk – so, in fact, that afternoon smoothie is your perfect mood-boosting cocktail!
Grainy bread is a good source of long-lasting energy to power your body (and in particular, your brain) through your day. That’s because grainy bread contains low-GI carbohydrates, meaning the energy is slowly released. Without carbohydrates in your diet, your blood sugar levels may fall too low and you’ll be more likely to feel lethargic and unable to concentrate.
Blueberries are rich in a type of polyphenol known as flavonoids – powerful antioxidants that have been linked to reduced risk of depression. Their high fibre content also helps to stabilise blood sugar and energy levels, which can help to reduce anxiety.
Lean red meat
Have you ever noticed how grumpy you become when you’re tired? If tiredness is an ongoing complaint for you, perhaps it’s time to ask your GP for an iron test. That’s because iron plays a key role in transporting oxygen around your body. For vegetarians you can top up your iron levels with legumes such as lentils and soybeans and nuts like pistachio, sunflower seeds and cashews.
© Prevention Australia
First published: 2 Jan 2019