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Celebrate National Feel Good Day - And Every Day After That!

09.07.2014

National Feel Good Day lands on 19th July this year, giving us the perfect opportunity to share with you our favourite mood boosting foods!

With feeling good comes happiness. However, happiness means very different things to different people. Perhaps your happiness may be getting to the end of your working day and still having energy leftover? Maybe it’s having the energy to get to the end of your to-do list? Maybe happiness to you means having the energy to spend quality time with your family? Whatever it may be, happiness is something we all strive for.

Happiness is characterised by or indicative of pleasure, contentment or joy. Whatever it may be that brings you these things, it is important to remember that a diet filled with mood boosting foods will only strengthen your mental and physical happiness.

Health Journalist, Karen Gordon states that eating a healthy diet is not only good for your physical health – but what you eat can have a significant impact on your mental wellbeing.

A recent study undertaken by the British Journal of Psychiatry focused on those who ate a diet based mainly on whole foods – this showed that they were less likely to report feelings of depression than those who ate a diet rich in processed foods.

 

What follows are our favourite mood boosting foods that may reduce your stress, ease any anxiety and fight against depression.

1. Brazil nuts   

A great source of the mineral selenium - it has been shown in recent studies that those with increased depression showed low selenium levels.

Serving suggestion: Eat several Brazil nuts along with a piece of fruit for a mood boosting and satisfying snack. Alternatively, chop up 3 Brazil nuts and sprinkle them over your porridge in the morning – a fantastic start to your day!

 

2. Oily Fish (salmon, tuna or sardines)   

Studies have shown that people who have lower levels of omega 3 may be more susceptible to depression. Omega 3 is a mood-boosting nutrient that our bodies are unable to produce themselves. The omega 3 fatty acids found in oily fish make up a large percentage of our brain tissue. 

Eating a diet high in omega 3 will not just help to keep your brain healthy, but also improve your mood.

Serving suggestion: Having canned fish is a fantastic and easy method of getting your omega 3 whereever you are - dashed over a large salad for your fantastic midday meal. Check out our delicious tuna salad to begin your trail of inspiration. 

 

3. Oats   

Oats have a low glycaemic index, this means that they slowly release energy throughout a number of hours, rather than a quick burst of satisfaction followed promptly by a craving for more. By releasing energy slowly, this helps to keep your blood sugar and mood stable.

Serving suggestion: A bowl of porridge is a fantastic way to start your day. Stir in a tablespoon of natural yogurt to add some creaminess to your brekkie, also try sprinkling over a handful of fresh or frozen berries, delicious! Our porridge recipe can be viewed here

 

4. Lentils   

Lentils are a complex carbohydrate, which mean that they will stabilise your blood sugar levels, enabling you to maintain a stable mood. High in iron, lentils will give you a greater amount of energy, which in turn will heighten your mood. Lentils are also high in folate - being deficient in folate has been linked to depression.

Serving suggestion: To make lentils easy to digest, be sure to soak them for a few hours before cooking. An excellent staple to use within soups or stews. Why not try our lentil and sweet potato stew

 

5. Chicken and Turkey   

Both chicken and turkey contain tryptophan, an amino acid that our bodies use to make serotonin – low levels of serotonin are linked with depression.

Serving suggestion: Chicken and turkey are both such versatile meats – you can use them within most meals, including quick and easy dinners, tossed through a salad for lunch, or cooked over a smoking BBQ – the possibilities are endless. We have so many delicious chicken recipes available for your to check out, simply click here.

 

6. Dark Green Leafy Veg   

Deficiencies in certain B vitamins have been linked to depression. Your body in fact becomes less efficient at producing serotonin if you vitamin B levels are low. Dark green leafy veg, such as spinach, brussel sprouts, asparagus and broccoli are loaded with folate, a B vitamin.

Serving suggestion: Load your salad high with spinach leaves for a healthy dose of folate. Have broccoli either in it’s raw form as crudités to make a fantastic snack, or incorporate into a main meal. Asparagus and brussel sprouts are delicious with the majority of foods. Boiled, roasted, they will ensure a tasty added portion of your vital vitamin B.

Have a favourite dark green veg to start you off? Find your perfect dish now.

Spinach inspiration.

Asparagus inspiration.

Broccoli inspiration.

 

7. Yoghurt   

Those lacking in vitamin D have been shown to be at higher risk of depression. Yogurt contains both calcium and vitamin D. 

Not only does calcium enable the body to better absorb vitamin D, it has also been shown to reduce levels of anxiety and stress.

Serving suggestion: Go for the full fat natural yogurt (low fat contains extra sugar!) Add your own flavours - artificial flavours are just that, artificial. Incorporate berries, nuts and seeds, and if you crave that sweet kick, add a couple of drops of vanilla extract, perfect! Eat as breakfast topped with berries, or have a smaller portion for a mid-afternoon snack.

All of these recipes contain yogurt – which is your favourite? 

 

8. Dark chocolate   

The food that we’re sure you’ll be thankful to have made this list. The darker the chocolate, the better. It has been shown that those who occasionally treat themselves to a square of chocolate produce less stress hormones and their anxiety levels decrease due to released endorphins and a boost to serotonin levels. This is believed to be down to the antioxidants in chocolate.

Serving suggestion: A small square after dinner will help boost your mood. Keeping your chocolate intake to a minimum means that you will savour it, enabling the good-mood hormones to go into full flow. Click here for our advice on chocolate - we promise you'll like it!

 

And finally, the simplest, cheapest and indeed the non-foodiest of the bunch – but so vital!

9. Water   

Our brains are highly affected by our water intake. It is incredibly easy to become dehydrated – and even by the slightest amount, this will alter our mental wellbeing.

Serving suggestion: Caffeine not only dehydrates you, but has also been shown to heighten anxiety and stress, so why not swap your tea and coffee for caffeine free fruit teas? Incredibly hydrating and uplifting, there are so many flavours to choose from, you’ll be sure to find the perfect fit. We also have a huge range of homemade flavoured waters for you to check out here. Make in large batches and store in the fridge – suddenly being hydrated isn’t such a chore!

 

Click here for more information on the impact a healthy diet has to your mental wellbeing. 

 

If you are part of a company and would like to find out more about our healthy eating services please call 0845 533 5302.

If you are an individual and are interested in our 12 week online healthy eating programme you can find out more - here. When you're ready you can login to My Healthy Eating Programme using the login button at the top and entering the code VIP10 into the register now box. The cost of the 12 week programme for an individual is £49.99 and we have corporate rates available upon request.



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