Feelgood foods

Feeling a bit meh? A bit blue? Looking at what you’re eating and trying to boost your mood by tweaking what’s on your plate can help. 

If you find yourself feeling flat, it could be that your diet isn’t helping. Getting the right nutrients can help your overall health which can in turn boost your mood, give you more energy, and even ease stress, anxiety and depression. With your mood uplifted, you might find yourself more motivated to stay active to help you feel your very best. 

We all find ourselves reaching for calorie-rich, high sugar foods such as chocolate or ice cream when we’re feeling down – it’s no coincidence they’re named ‘comfort foods’. There’s nothing wrong with treating yourself from time to time, but it’s good to know that while high sugar high fat foods might give you an initial boost but they can make you feel worse in the long run.    

Pack your plate with feelgood foods like whole foods, fresh fruit and veg and wholegrains. You’ll feel more satisfied and keep your vitamin and mineral levels topped up, which can help your mood and wellbeing. Here’s some foods that could give you an extra mood boost when you need it. 

  • Fish. Fish contains omega- 3 fatty acids, a nutrient that our body doesn’t make itself. Omega 3 alters brain chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin, linked with mood making it a key mood- boosting nutrient. You can find it in oily fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines and tuna.  
  • Blueberries. Blueberries contain more antioxidants than other common fruit or vegetables, and due to the antioxidant flavonoids, blueberries can help regulate mood, improve memory and protect the brain from aging. Ace!   
  • Nuts. Nuts and seeds are high plant-based proteins containing healthy fats and fibre. They also contain tryptophan, an amino acid responsible for producing serotonin, renowned for mood boosting. Certain seeds and nuts such as Brazil nuts, almonds and pine nuts also contain sources of zinc and selenium, important for brain function.  
  • Beans and lentils. Beans and lentils are another great source of protein and vitamins. They contain vitamin b, which helps to improve mood in neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, as well as contributing to increased gut health.   
  • Oats. Oats are low GI (glycemic index) meaning they release energy slowly into the bloodstream, keeping our blood sugars – and mood – stable. They also contain the mineral selenium which can help lift our mood. 
  • Dark chocolate. That’s right, a square or 2 is no bad thing, in fact dark chocolate contains an amino acid called trytophan that your brain uses to produce serotonin, a hormone responsible for giving us that feelgood factor. Just don’t go crazy or your blood sugar levels will spike, and stick to cocoa solids 70% and above as they tend to be much lower in added sugar. 
  • Bananas also contain tryptophan so they’re a great snack to reach for in moments of anxiety or stress. 

Making a few small changes to the way you eat could change the way you look and feel for the better. Slowly slide more of the good things onto your plate to start feeling the benefits.