Veganism: Dr Potter advises on switching to plant-based diet
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Adding these five foods to your diet could give your mood a natural boost. Making sure you’re getting plenty of brain-friendly nutrients from delicious and healthy foods will leave you feeling sunnier, even when the skies are grey.
Many Britons may have recently pledged to change their diet for weight loss or health reasons, but what about eating a diet that could boost your mood during a cold and dark January?
Some foods have been shown to boost your mood, giving you the get-up and go you need to make the best of the bluest month.
Suzie Sawyer, clinical nutritionist for www.feelaliveuk.com, said: “Grey January brings grey moods for many people.
“However, putting the right nutritional goodness into your body can really transform how you feel.”
Here are five foods to lift your mood this January.
1 – Eat fatty fish twice a week
Fatty fish such as salmon are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which aids your brain function.
Salmon is rich in two types of omega-3s – docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) – which are linked to lower levels of depression.
Fish is also rich in vitamin D, known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’, which all Britons need at this time of year.
Low levels of vitamin D are linked with low mood and anxiety, so by topping up your vitamin D by eating fish or taking a vitamin D supplement could help beat the blues.
Eat salmon two or three times a week for a brain boost.
2 – Dark chocolate
Needless to say, having a bit of chocolate is going to put a smile on your face.
However dark chocolate is best, as it has less sugar and fat than other types of chocolate.
Sugar might give you a temporary high, but dark chocolate of 70 percent or more cocoa solids contains natural mood-boosting compounds.
These include caffeine, theobromine, and N-acylethanolamine.
Dark chocolate is also rich in flavonoids, which increase blood flow to your brain, reduce inflammation, and boost brain health.
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3 – Bananas
Snacking on a big yellow banana might well brighten up your day.
Bananas are high in vitamin B6 which helps your body to create feel-good neurotransmitters including dopamine and serotonin.
Suzie said: “The family of B-vitamins are needed to release energy from food, plus much more, and are frequently deficient in the typical western diet.
“Specifically, vitamins B3, B6 and folic acid are essential for converting the amino acid tryptophan into serotonin, our brain neurotransmitter, essential for mood and motivation.
“Other tryptophan-rich foods including turkey, oats, fish and beans. You could also take a daily supplement of B-vitamins such as the Alive! B-Complex Soft Jelly Multi-Vitamin.”
Bananas also contain both fibre and sugar, meaning you get the benefits of sugar but this is released more slowly into the bloodstream thanks to the fibre.
Fluctuating blood sugar levels can cause havoc for your moods, but eating a banana can help you stay on an even keel.
4 – Berries
Berries are high in antioxidants which combat damage to your cells, making them a healthy addition to anyone’s diet.
Anthocyanin, the pigment giving berries their blue, purple, violet and red colours, is linked with a lower risk of depression symptoms too.
5 – Coffee
If you’re a “don’t talk to me until I’ve had my morning coffee” type of person, there may be a chemical reason for that!
The caffeine in coffee doesn’t just make you feel more alert and awake, it also increases the release of dopamine and norepinephrine, known for boosting your mood.
If you’re struggling with low mood, don’t just rely on changing your diet to help.
Try to speak to a friend or family member you trust, who might be able to support you.
Services are available, such as the Samaritans, or you could make an appointment with your GP to discuss your mental health.
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