Bowl of granola and banana

Healthy foods to boost your mood

2020 has been a strange year! We are facing a different Christmas this year, so along with darker evenings and recent announcements about more of the country moving into the higher level of COVID-19 restrictions, it’s not surprising that we may be feeling a bit down or feeling a strong urge to hibernate and hide away from the world.

The good news is there are lots of practical steps you can take to boost your mood. In last month’s blog I talked about the lifestyle habits we can all build into our day to reduce stress and support your mood.

So this month, I want to talk about the foods we can incorporate into our diet to boost our mood. Here are my top five feel good food groups.

1. Healthy fats

Omega 3 fats are important for brain health. Good sources are found in oily fish (salmon, mackerel, anchovies, herrings and sardines). For those who don’t eat fish, stock up on walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds and avocados.

2. Tryptophan rich foods

Tryptophan is an amino acid which is converted to serotonin – our feel good hormone. Foods high in tryptophan include oats, turkey, chicken, canned tuna, cottage cheese, nuts and seeds.

3. B vitamins

As well as providing energy to the body, B vitamins are also important for the health of our nervous system. Good sources are turkey, chicken, brown rice, pulses, vegetables, bananas and nuts and seeds.

4. Fermented foods

There is a link between our gut health and our brain. A large amount of serotonin, our feel good hormone, is actually made in the gut and so keeping out gut healthy can help improve our mood. Including foods like live yoghurt, kefir and sauerkraut into our diet daily can help keep our gut healthy.

5. Magnesium

Magnesium is important for energy production, but also supports our nervous system and can have a relaxing effect on the body. Good sources of magnesium are green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds, pulses and dark chocolate – yes, a few squares of dark chocolate (look for at least 80% cocoa solids) is actually good for you.

Combine these foods with mood boosting lifestyle habits too and that should help you to stay positive as we get through winter 2020/1.

I will continue to post tips to help you stay well in mind and body, so do let me know if there are any topics you would like to see covered.

If you would like a more tailored review of how diet and lifestyle changes could help you, then do get in touch to have a chat about booking a Health MOT.

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Take care and stay well!

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  1. Fiona on December 17, 2020 at 9:38 pm

    Great advice Emma, Tryptophan foods are a new concept for me so I’ve stocked up on those and the others you suggest.

    • Emma Belton on December 17, 2020 at 10:49 pm

      That’s great Fiona, hope it helps keep you feeling upbeat.

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