Mood boosting foods: Magic or Myth

Features, Food, Health & Beauty, Quick Reads

For someone who rarely listens, I absolutely love learning new things. Give me a completely useless piece of information, like the fact that Walkers crisps expiration dates always fall on a Saturday (trust me you can check), and I’ll store it in my head forever. Tell me something useful and relevant, and I’ll probably forget it in the time it takes me to drink my lemon and ginger tea (which I possibly read is good for me, but I can’t really remember).

So as you can imagine, I was shocked and surprised to find out that something I had picked up snippets of people saying over the years, something about if you eat well you’ll feel well (or was it you should read a book by Orson Welles?), is actually true.

After struggling with various stomach problems over the years, trying every pain relief under the sun and still to this day being oblivious as to what Mebeverine ACTUALLY does, I found a solution. Just stop eating crap and wondering why I feel crap.

Not only has starting to eat well, and be more mindful of what I put in my body made my stomach pains reduce dramatically, it made me FEEL good. Then I read a little bit more into it, and I found out that there are a whole load of foods that make you feel good, so I thought I would give them a try.

Nuts 4/5

Mixed Nuts

According to this blog from www.shape.com, nuts can increase serotonin levels which helps boost mood and stop feelings of hunger. I like nuts (get your minds out of the gutter right now), but we only really ever have them at Christmas. Sometimes if I’m drunk I’ll go to the bar and order every single of flavour of Nobbies nuts they do, but that’s about it.

The thought has literally never occurred to me to include nuts in my daily diet. In all fairness there are probably some nuts I don’t even know about, and I didn’t realize a walnut was such a funny shape until this week. I started off with some cashews, which are not listed in the article, but nuts are nuts. All nuts include healthy fats, and it goes without saying, don’t get the salted versions.

I kept adding a small handful in my daily diet, experimenting with different nuts like Brazil nuts and almonds. I must admit, this little change really did boost my mood. I didn’t instantly notice that my hunger levels dropped (I’m always starving), but it definitely made me feel more happy and calm.

Avocado 3/5

avocado

If I’m being honest, I didn’t try avocado until last year. Not because I’m particularly fussy, just because I hadn’t been in an environment where someone gave it to me. It doesn’t taste good or bad for me really. I wouldn’t say I disliked it, but I wouldn’t say I’d go out drinking and go ‘I’M GAGGING FOR AN AVOCADO AFTER THIS NIGHT OUT’. I tried incorporating it in my diet at breakfast, after reading on www.uppy.com.au that it was one of their best mood boosting foods. Avocado not only contains healthy fats (can you see a pattern here) but also tryptophan which creates serotonin.

Overall, I didn’t really find that avocado made me feel any happier or more energetic, but I did notice it did make me feel full for a lot longer, which was good for my current health kick.

Dark Chocolate 4/5

chipped-dark-chocolate

I’m not really a chocolate lover, which is handy because dairy makes me really unwell. I’ve never been one of those people that has to have something sweet after dinner, and it’s only on really rare occasions that I have anything after my dinner. A Readers Digest article I read said that dark chocolate releases endorphins, which again boost your mood. I decided to give it an active try, as any time I have eaten dark chocolate I’ve not monitored my mood. I’ve found a couple of squares just before I get settled for the evening definitely make me feel a bit more happy and relaxed.

Salmon (or any oily fish) 5/5

salmon

We absolutely have a winner. As mentioned in this article, Salmon is rich in omega-3 fats, which are more or less the holy grail when it comes to boosting your mood. Apparently the brain is 60% fat (mines 60% funner FYI), so it thrives on being fed these healthy fats.

Much to the displeasure of my colleagues in my incredibly small office, I had two salmon fillets and some broccoli rice for lunch one day this week. I can honestly say, it’s the only afternoon in months I haven’t felt grumpy and tired by 4. Not only did I have more energy, I actually felt happier in myself, and slept better that evening. I’d highly recommend trying to incorporate this into your diet now and again.

*Just for reference, I am absolutely not a nutritionist. I suffer from IBS, anxiety and depression, and I am just sharing what works for me. As always, if any one would like to discuss further or you need to talk, my email is thecoaseg@gmail.com

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