Feeling cranky or down in the dumps? Looking for someone to take your ‘hangry’ feelings out on? Well, your diet could be partly to blame! The balance of both macronutrients – carbs, protein and fats, combined with adequate micronutrients – vitamins and minerals are essential to your body functioning well, both physically and mentally. There has been plenty of research to suggest there is an array of good mood food that can aid in stabilizing and even boosting moods. So, why wouldn’t you use food to fuel your brain in a way that will maximise a good mood?
Here are seven tips on ways to incorporate more good mood foods into your everyday life:
1. Start the day right
Skipping breakfast has become a common habit in our fast paced, ‘never enough time’ lives, but what consequences is this having on your mood? Study after study suggest that breakfast eaters tend to have healthier habits. Incorporating good mood foods into your wholesome breakfast can benefit both your waistline and your mindset for the day ahead.
Good mood food – soy milk, and banana on your oats
Both soy and banana contain tryptophan which is used to stimulate serotonin production. Serotonin is considered the ‘happy’ hormone that helps regulate your mood and improve the quality of your sleep. Not to mention the vitamins and minerals associated with improved health! Combine these with your low GI oats that contain the mood boosting mineral selenium and you have no excuse for getting out of the wrong side of the bed.
2. Prepare for your busy week
We know, we know … creating a shopping list and meal prepping (or at least menu planning) for the week ahead is not the sexiest thing to do on the weekend. But it is important if you care about nourishing your body, looking good, feeling energetic and being in a good mood amidst your busy week. By being organised with your meals, or even knowing when you are likely to eat out can ensure that you are getting adequate nutrients and the right balance of macronutrients in your healthy meals. The Active8me app is ideal for when you’re super busy, as it takes away the indecision and extra thought of what meals to have. Recommended meals with the flexibility to choose others – whether you’re eating at home or out is what Active8me is all about!
Good mood food – Fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel or herring
Salmon, mackerel or herring are great sources of Omega-3 fatty acids. These are important for brain function and combat depression, anxiety and low mood. Jaclyn Reutens, Active8me dietician, recommends 100g of fatty fish, three times per week. Try this recipe for lunch or order the salmon salad when your eating out!
3. Snack for optimal fuel
Ditch the sugary snacks that are ‘empty calories’ and void of nutritional value! Similarly, energy bars that are covered in chocolate or honey seem good but devalue the snack itself. They give you a quick sugar hit that comes with a subsequent ‘dip’ in blood glucose, almost always making you reach for more food and leave you feeling lethargic. Instead have a piece of fresh fruit or try a mix of nuts and dark chocolate to really ramp up your mood.
Good mood food – Nuts and dark chocolate mix
Try a mix of small handful of walnuts, brazil nuts, almonds, flaxseeds, pine nuts and a few dark choc nibs. Walnuts are a great source of magnesium, which is linked to reduced symptoms of depression, and Brazil nuts contain important fatty acids for brain health as well as selenium. Add dark chocolate to that (it really needs to contain 70% or more cocoa and watch your mood boost!
4. Drink your good mood food fix
Vegetable and fruit smoothies are a great option to fill both your hunger and mood with goodness. Smoothies are a convenient way to pack in a whole heap of nutrients and include fresh vegetables that you may not normally like to eat!
Good mood food – Add spinach in your green smoothie
Get your vitamin B fix with a green smoothie to stave off the bad mood. Spinach is a great source of important B vitamins such as folate, B3, B6 and B12. B12 vitamin deficiency can be responsible for poor memory, fatigue, depression and mood disturbances. You could try supercharging the good mood foods by adding banana to it too!
5. Add spice for a good mood food booster
The old wife’s tales your grandma told you about certain spices may have more truth to them than you believed! “Red chilli has the chemical capsaicin which releases endorphins that have a calming and happy effect on you”, says Jaclyn Reutens. The spice turmeric has the active ingredient curcumin which is said to have cognitive benefits of improving your memory and boosting your mood. In fact, turmeric seems like an all-round winner in the world of health benefits. It is a strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, natural detoxifier and is thought to boost immunity.
Good mood food – Turmeric latte/ Golden milk
Be daring and order a turmeric latte instead of a coffee or, better still make your own! Here’s how: warm 1 cup of almond milk in a small saucepan (do not boil) and add 1 teaspoon each of turmeric paste, ginger and cinnamon. Then combine 2 teaspoons coconut oil with the mixture, continuing to gently heat until melted. Add raw honey for sweetener. Voila – mood bolstered!
6. Make your meals work for you
You’re guaranteed to be in a better mood when your gut health is working well. Your gut is the largest producer of serotonin, outside the brain. So, it makes sense to keep it happy and functioning well. Choose low GI foods that keep you feeling fuller for longer, increase your fibre to keep you regular and keep the ‘hangry’ feelings at bay.
Good mood food – Egg and Veggie Quinoa Bake
There is good reason that quinoa has become the trendy grain in the last few years. It has a high fibre and low GI content, so it is great to keep you fuller for longer. No hangry sugar lows for you! Eggs are a bundle of nutritious goodness in more ways than one. Apart from being an easily digestible source of protein which will moderate blood sugar, stabilise moods and aid in muscle recovery and growth, they also have choline – a precursor for the neurotransmitter responsible for cognitive function and learning processes.
Drinking water is often the thing we forget when we are most busy. Having adequate hydration can have a huge impact on our ability to physically and mentally function. Dehydration can lead to headaches, a general lack of focus and reaching for ‘bad’ foods when we are not actually hungry! All of which lead to a bad mood.
Good mood food – Add some fresh lemon wedges to your water bottle
Apart from giving your water that extra zest, lemon is a rich source of Vitamin C, which promotes strong immunity. Feeling strong and healthy is the best defence against a bad mood. Carry a funky water bottle with you as a constant reminder to drink up!
So eat better to…
- Nourish your body and be healthier
- Look better as looking toned is more about what you eat, than your workouts
- Let food be thy medicine.
- Feel more energetic.
- Have more radiant skin.
Eat better to feel better and boost your mood.
If you’re not sure where to start or want expert help to eat better, get fit and see body transformation …
Try downloading the Active8me app. Incredible experts have built the app for your success. The only thing you need to do is do it!