This month we're welcoming Jade Jemma from www.freedomzest.com who has written a Guest Blog on "10 Ways to Improve your Mood with Food".
10 Ways to Improve your Mood with Food
Can you really improve your mood with food? And can what you choose to eat or drink even encourage bad moods or mild depression?
In this article I’m going to share with you my favourite foods to support your mental health.
Improve Your Mood with Food
When you’re feeling down, stressed, overwhelmed with work or emotional, it can be tempting to turn to food to lift your spirits - I know I certainly am!
However, the sugary, high calorie treats that many of us resort to have negative consequences of their own.
Certain foods and nutrients help your brain to make chemicals that can affect your mood, attention and focus, while other foods can zap your energy.
As a busy entrepreneur, I’m often thinking about what food I need to fuel my system both physically and mentally to keep my mind alive and creative.
Choosing the right food for me can mean the difference between a very productive day with lots of new ideas and a day where I just get by.
I recently did some research on how to improve your mood with food and what I should include in my diet and based on this, I’ve made some changes that I would love to share with you.
Here are 10 healthy foods that may improve your mood
Some studies have shown that preservatives, food colorings and other additives may cause or worsen hyperactivity and depression. So if you have one thing to remember, it's to eat real food, or food that’s minimally processed and has a few healthy ingredients. Think fresh fruits and vegetables.
Nuts are healthy foods densely packed with fibre, protein, and healthy fats — just keep track of calories, which can add up quickly. Try to get about 1 ounce a day of mixed nuts, including walnuts and almonds. Munch on nuts containing omega-3 fatty acids, such as walnuts and almonds, for the greatest long-term benefits. To me, this is the perfect snack to have next to me while working.
3. Leafy Greens
They’re loaded with magnesium, a mineral that, among other things, helps reduce anxiety. Dark leafy greens like spinach and kale are loaded with it-so eating them is an easy way to get your daily vegetables and boost your brain health, too.
Another way to improve your mood with food is by using turmeric. It is a spice commonly used in Indian and South-East Asian cooking. The active ingredient in turmeric is called curcumin. Curcumin may help lower anxiety by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress - I like to add a teaspoon of turmeric to my rice while it is cooking!
Bananas are a nutritious mood-boosting food. They are high in fiber, an excellent source of vitamin B6, and a good source of vitamin C, copper, and manganese. Vitamin B6 helps the body produce serotonin, which is a mood-stabilising hormone.
6. Red Peppers
When you add red bell peppers to a dish, you not only get the fresh crunch of this flavorful vegetable, but you also get the added benefits of vitamin A and vitamin B6. I only came across this fact recently!
Vitamin B6 supports brain development and function, and it also influences your mood by helping the body make the feel-good hormones serotonin and norepinephrine.
Drinking enough water is crucial for our overall well-being! Even mild dehydration may have negative effects on your health, such as decreasing metabolism and draining energy. Stay hydrated all day by drinking plenty of water! I like to keep a bottle of water at my desk to remind me to keep drinking through the day.
8. Dark Chocolate
You read it right: improve your mood with chocolate! Dark Chocolate contains caffeine, and a stimulant chemical called theobromine is also present in chocolate. Try a small snack of dark chocolate for a mood-boosting break.
Yes, they're relatively high in fat but this green fruit is also rich in B vitamins, including B6 which is responsible for helping you release serotonin (those happy hormones). Not to mention they are also high in fibre, so you feel fuller for longer and less likely to dip in energy throughout the day. I like to eat mine on toast with sundried tomatoes!
Lentils are one of the healthiest and cheapest ingredients around. Add a scoop of lentils to a stew, soup or pasta dish and you'll reap the benefits from this nutrient-dense legume.
Packed full of protein and fibre, lentils will leave you satisfied and help keep you regular. What's more, they're a good source of iron, which helps your blood pump oxygen around the body. A lack of iron can leave you feeling tired and lacklustre. You'll also get a dose of magnesium, which is linked to reducing your cortisol (stress hormone) so you'll feel better and calmer.
Final Thoughts on How to Improve Your Mood with Food
Eating a healthful diet should provide all the nutrients needed for healthy brain function.
Try to incorporate as many of my suggestions as possible, because regardless of the effects of food on your mood, most of these changes offer other health benefits as well.
About the Author
Jade Jemma is a sought after sales growth expert and speaker based in London, UK.
Through her private mentoring, group programs and online courses Jade helps freedom-focused entrepreneurs to simplify and accelerate their sales growth so they can create their ultimate freedom lifestyle.
More blog posts by Jade Jemma
Her website Freedomzest.com