You can have a healthier AND happier life by simply introducing certain foods into your diet.
Itâ€™s true â€“ you are what you eat. Itâ€™s not just your physical health, but your mental health too, that can be affected when â€˜treatingâ€™ yourself to junk food.
Reaching for a high-sugar or simple carbohydrate (white bread or pasta) snack can lead to spikes and dips in blood sugar levels â€“ leaving you fatigued and moody.
Our emotions, mood and behavior can be directly linked to the food we eat, according to the International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research.
Here are 5 mood-boosting nutrients:
These vitamins support brain functioning, boost the immune system and provide you with healthy skin. A 2009 study published by The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry indicates diets low in B vitamins may be linked to depression.
Food containing B Vitamins: eggs, beef, cheese and salmon.
Vegetarian options: spinach, bananas, avocado and vegemite.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
An essential fatty acid, this controls levels of fat in the blood, decreases inflammation and is important for heart health. Researchers from the Qingdao University have shown a correlation between high fish consumption and decreased risk of depression. Deficiency symptoms include mood swings, declined memory and fatigue.
Food containing Omega-3: salmon, mackerel and sardines.
Vegetarian options: walnuts, flaxseed and chia seeds.
Essential in calcium absorption for strong bones and important for overall health. Known as the â€˜sunshine vitamin,â€™ the body produces this when exposed to sunlight. The National Institute of Health specifies several studies where sunlight dramatically improves mood â€“ but during winter months you are unlikely to hit the beach so food sources are required.
Food containing Vitamin D: eggs, salmon, mackerel and cod liver oil.
Vegetarian options: oranges and fortified cereals.
This essential amino acid is converted by the body into serotonin â€“ the well-known â€˜happiness chemicalâ€™ that also has beneficial effects on sexual desire.
Food containing Tryptophan: cheese, chicken, egg whites and milk.
Vegetarian options: peanuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and soy beans.
These microorganisms are â€˜good bacteriaâ€™ that help maintain a healthy gut as well as functioning of the brain and immune system. According to the University College Cork, probiotics can alter neurochemistry and treat depression and anxiety-related disorders.
Food containing probiotic bacteria (all vegetarian): yoghurt, kombucha and kefir.
By Holly Buckingham, Guest Blogger.