We all know about the long-term benefits healthy eating can have on our physical health, but what about the effect certain foods can have on our psychological well-being? We all have our vices when we are stressed or emotional (all those in favour of eating your weight in pizza followed by a slippery downhill slope that involves a spoon and the entire jar of Nutella say ‘I’), but what if we could learn a few little foodie life hacks that could assist in promoting a happy healthy mood? Here are five mood-boosting nutrients to help keep that smile on your dial!
- Omega-3 fatty acids - Studies have shown that low blood levels of omega-3s have been linked to many depressive disorders. These guys are essential for brain function and performance and can be found in oily fish such as salmon or sardines, fish oil tablets, flaxseed and walnut oils.
- Vitamin D – SUNSHINE! Lack of Vitamin D has been linked to low moods, as shown in certain areas of the world where daily exposure to the sun is limited. Those with fair skin can spend less time in the sun in order to produce their daily dose of Vitamin D as compared to those with a darker complexion. Optimal sun exposure is under the midday sun, without sunscreen, for 10-15 minutes, breaking those slip, slop, slap rules you rebel!
- Antioxidants – Blueberries are rich in flavonoids, an antioxidant that has been shown to activate brain pathways associated with improved cognition and mood! Consumption of a wide range of fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants has been shown to greatly improve mood and overall quality of life. Choose fruits and veggies such as blackberries, kale and broccoli sprouts.
- B6 – This little guy is responsible for helping your body produce serotonin, low levels of serotonin in the body have been shown to be associated with low moods and depression. Get your B6 fix from sweet potato, carrots, bananas, or avocados (because we need a reason to eat more avocado right?)
- Magnesium – Labelled “the original chill pill”, Magnesium is essential in a vast array of bodily metabolic processes. It can calm stress and anxiety, assist in sleep, has anti-inflammatory properties and can stabilize blood sugar levels. It’s a wonder why most people aren’t meeting their minimum intake! Good sources of magnesium include spinach, silverbeet, almonds, and soybeans.