Five foods to beat the blues
We all go through periods of feeling anxious, irritable or depressed. However, there are many things you can do to help boost your mood. The foods you eat can directly influence the way you feel, so check out these top five foods to beat the blues.
Mood food 1: Bananas
Bananas are high in natural sugars, making them a great remedy for low energy levels which can leave you feeling down. On top of this they are packed with mood-lifting nutrients to help put a smile on your face.
Bananas are a great source of tryptophan, an essential amino acid which boosts serotonin levels, helping to regulate your mood. Furthermore, they are rich in magnesium, which can help you to relax and vitamin B6, which can help to relieve depression.
Mood food 2: Oily fish
Omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fish are well known for being good for the heart. However, they are equally beneficial for our brain health and mood. A study by researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine found that participants who had lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood were more likely to be moderately depressed and have a negative outlook.
Furthermore, a study has found surprisingly low rates of seasonal affective disorder in Icelanders, where the diet is high in omega-3 rich fish. To follow in their footsteps and help ward off the blues, try eating two portions of oily fish a week, or up to four for men.
Mood food 3: Chocolate
Many people find themselves reaching for chocolate to ease a bad mood, and this could in fact be no bad thing. Research has shown that chocolate contains many chemicals which can help beat the blues, including relaxing magnesium, calming anandamide and pleasure-inducing phenylethylamine.
To up the mood-boosting benefits further, try snacking on chocolate-dipped strawberries for a healthy treat. Strawberries are not only a good source of vitamin C, which helps in the production of endorphins, but they are high in mood-enhancing flavonoids too.
Mood food 4: Marmite
If you’re feeling anxious, stressed or depressed, a dose of B vitamins could help to lift your mood. B vitamins are important for normal brain function and producing mood-boosting serotonin, with vitamins B12 and B6 being particularly beneficial for regulating your mood.
To up your intake of B vitamins, try snacking on Marmite on wholegrain toast. As Marmite is fortified with vitamin B12, this is a particularly good choice of food for vegans and vegetarians who may struggle to get their recommended intake.
Mood food 5: Nuts
Walnuts are the perfect good-mood food, offering the combined mood-boosting properties of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B6 and tryptophan. The nuts are also a good source of folate (vitamin B9); the deficiency of which has been linked to depression.
As well as snacking on walnuts, another good nut to add into your diet is the Brazil. Brazil nuts are an extremely rich source of the mineral selenium, with research suggesting that just one Brazil nut a day can provide you with your recommended daily intake. As low levels of selenium can lead to depression, irritability and anxiety, snacking on Brazils could be the perfect healthy way to boost your mood.
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