October 10th is #WorldMentalHealthDay. What you eat and drink can have a major effect on how you feel and your overall moods.
Improving your diet can help to increase a more positive mental attitude, help to to think in a clearer way, calm your moods and also give you more energy.
Here are 10 Food tips to help boost your mood
If you skip meals your blood sugar level is likely to drop which can make you feel tired, irritable and down. If you eat regularly this will help to stabilise your blood sugar levels.
2. Eat Slow release Foods.
Good complex carbohydrates like Oats, wholegrain rice, wholegrain bread, wholemeal pasta, beans and pulses will all give you a good slow release of energy and balance blood sugars.
3. Avoid Sugar.
Avoid foods that are full of sugar, like fizzy drinks, energy drinks, chocolate, cakes, pastries and sweets. These will make your blood sugar levels rise super quickly and almost give you that come down afterwards where you feel hungry, grumpy and crave more sugar, so the cycle begins again. Too much sugar has been linked to depression as the body uses essential vitamin B to help process the sugar into energy. Vitamin B plays a role in producing brain chemicals that effect moods. If vitamin B levels are low then this may be linked to depression.
4. Eat Plenty of fresh fruit & Veggies.
Fruit and Veg contain so many nutrients, minerals, vitamins and fibre that we need to keep our body and mind healthy. Good choices for Mood boosting veggies are leafy greens like spinach, broccoli, kale and asparagus all of which are high in folic acid. Deficiencies in folate as well as other B vitamins have been linked with higher rates of depression, fatigue and insomnia. Other foods that contain folate are beans, pulses, avocados and citrus fruits.
5. Eat Lean Proteins.
Protein is used for growth, maintenance and repair. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid (one of the building blocks of protein) needed for general growth and development and also creating serotonin within the body. Serotonin is a chemical messenger that’s believed to act as a mood stabiliser, can help improve sleep as well as boosting your mood. Foods that contain Tryptophan are: Chicken, Turkey, eggs, lamb, beef, pork, low fat cheeses and soya beans. Nuts and seeds like pumpkin, sunflower, pistachios and cashews are also good sources.
6. Stay Hydrated.
Water plays a massive role in our brain function. Not drinking enough water can have an effect on our concentration, memory and learning ability. Even the slightest bit of dehydration can have a negative impact on our mood. Try and aim to drink around 1.5-2L water per day to stay hydrated.
7. Eat Good Fats.
Foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids like salmon, sardines, mackerel, flaxseed, walnuts, tuna and soya beans, have been shown to reduce symptoms of depression. This is due to the effect omega-3s have on the production of neurotransmitters (brain chemicals responsible for our moods), including dopamine and serotonin.
8. Avoid Alcohol.
Sorry! Alcohol is a depressant of the central nervous system. The central nervous system role is in taking information through the senses, controlling motor function, thinking, understanding and reasoning. It also controls emotion. Alcohol slows all of this down which could increase the symptoms associated with depression.
9. Avoid Caffeine.
Drinks that include caffeine like coffee, green teas, energy drinks, coca cola and tea can lower serotonin levels and increase the likely hood of anxiety, depression and poor sleep patterns. Try and drink fruit and caffeine free herbal teas instead or decaf coffee/tea.
Not food related but really important. Regular exercise can help ease depression by releasing feel-good brain chemicals, those amazing endorphins that give us that buzz and promote a happier state of mind. You could walk, cycle, join a fitness class, swim, take up a sport or even just do star jumps in your living room!