Boost your mood with these five foods

The term comfort food traced back to 1966, when Palm Beach Post first used it in one of their stories: “Adults, when under severe emotional stress, turn to what could be called ‘comfort food’ – food associated with the security of childhood, like mom’s poached eggs or famous chicken soup.” 
 
Throughout the years, comfort food has become just about anything that gives you comfort, whether it is your mom’s favourite stew or a box of your favourite chocolate. We tend to associate food with our emotions. When we celebrate…we eat. When we are sad…we eat.  When we stress…we eat.
We don’t know about you, but we are tempted to go for wine, chocolate, ice cream, or pasta. However, the high sugar and calorie-laden treats that we think will lift our spirits actually have negative consequences.
number of studies have examined the association between diet and mood state, but the findings have been inconclusive. Studies, however, have proven many other factors that influence moods, such as stress, environment, poor sleepgenetics, mood disorders, and nutritional deficiencies.
Certain foods have been shown to improve overall brain health and certain typed of mood disorders. Fatty fish, avocados, nuts and seeds to name but a few, are high in brain-boosting Omega-3 Fatty Acids and ALA, which support normal brain function.
Here’s a list of our favourite feel-good foods that you should include into your diet to keep the grey stuff firing on all cylinders.
 
Here are our top mood foods for you.

1. Dark Chocolate

We were super happy to see chocolate on the list and decided to put it right at the top. However, opt for dark chocolate as milk chocolate contains sugar and fat you don’t want. Go for at least 70% or more cocoa solids and don’t overdo it, 1-2 blocks are all you need.
Dark chocolate is high in health-promoting flavonoids, which have been shown to increase blood flow to your brain, reduce inflammation, and boost brain health, all of which may support mood regulation.  In addition, its pleasurable taste, texture and smell may further promote a good mood.

2. Probiotics/Fermented Foods

Serotonin is a chemical that has a wide variety of functions in the human body. It is sometimes called the happy chemical since it contributes to wellbeing and happiness.  90% of your body’s serotonin is produced by the gut. We’ve all heard about the miracle little workers in our gut called probiotics. These microorganisms support the growth of healthy bacteria in your gut and may increase serotonin levels.
Fermented foods like yoghurt, kefir, kombucha and sauerkraut are rich in probiotics that support gut health.  Montagu’s new Mango Bites are also high in probiotics – enriched with BC30 Probiotics.

3. Fatty Fish

Fatty fish like salmon and sardines are rich in Omega-3 essential fatty acids.  Omega-3 contributes to the fluidity of your brain’s cell membrane and appear to play key roles in brain development and cell signalling.  Some studies have shown that Omega-3 may also lower depression. 
Some experts suggest 250-500mg of combined EPA and DHA Fatty Acids per day. A 100g serving of salmon provides 2,260 mg of EPA and DHA, eating this fish a few times per week is a great way to get these fats into your diet.

4. Nuts and seeds

WalnutsPecan nutslinseed and chia seed are very high in plant-based Omega-3 called Alpha-lipoic acid or ALA, proteins and fibre.
In addition, almondscashews, peanuts, walnuts as well as pumpkinsesame and sunflower seeds are excellent sources of tryptophan, an amino acid responsible for producing mood-boosting serotonin.
Some studies have also shown that certain nuts and seeds may lower your risk of depression.

5. Beans and lentils

Beans and lentils are packed with feel-good nutrients.  They are an excellent source of B vitamins, which helps improve mood by increasing levels of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, which are important for mood regulation.
B Vitamins further play a key role in the communication between nerve cells. Insufficient levels of especially Vitamin B12 and folate have been linked to mood disorders such a depression.
 
Other foods that will boost your mood are bananas, oats, berries and coffee, which amongst other, have been linked to brain health as they are filled with essential nutrients your body needs for normal functioning.
The next time you are down in the dumps, instead of grabbing a bucket of ice cream or a bag of crisps, try one or more of these more natural options. It will not only boost your mood but also sustain you for much longer.
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