Is It Possible To ‘Eat Yourself Happy’?
Sorry – don’t get excited. I’m not talking bacon sarnies, chocolate fudge cake and a large glass of red.
We all know that what we eat makes a big difference to how we look, but not many of us give much thought to how our food makes us feel. Just as research has long ago proven that excessive sugar consumption can speed up skin ageing, and that consuming high fat foods can lead to weight gain, new research shows that what we eat has a direct impact on our mood. Now that we know it’s possible, let’s find out exactly how you can eat yourself happy. The answers might suprise you!
- Eat a rainbow diet – Eating a wide range of colours from fruit and vegetables indicates that you’ll also be consuming a wide range of nutrients. These nutrients will then boost production of your ‘happy hormones’; serotonin and dopamine, which help stabilise your mood, regulate sleep patterns and help you feel motivated and accomplished. Some people worry that including lots of fresh food in your diet can be expensive, but it doesn’t need to be! By making some savvy choices you can boost your mood without hurting your bank balance. I found a great selection of plant based vegan recipes at Broke Bank Vegan, a Canadian couple living the dream in Mexico.
- Include complex carbohydrates – these include not only fruit and veg, but also wholemeal bread, brown rice, brown pasta, oats, grains and beans. These foods release their sugars slowly, unlike their refined counterparts (white bread, cakes, biscuits, white pasta etc). The benefit of this is you avoid the quickhit of energy, followed by the dreaded mid afternoon slump.
- Get your B Vitamins – Vitamin B deficiency has been linked to low mood, anxiety and depression. So if you want to eat yourself happy, be sure to include eggs, beetroot, red meat, dairy, beans, fortified cereals and bananas in your diet!
- Include seafood in your diet – Research has shown that lots of young women are deficient in zinc and this can lead to anger and depression. So you see; it’s not that your kids are driving you crackers, it’s just that you need to eat more oily fish!
- Eat regularly – We’ve all experienced what it feels like to be ‘hangry’ haven’t we? Avoid snappiness and irritation by eating at regular intervals and including healthy fibre-filled snacks to keep blood sugars level. So no skipping meals!
- Stay hydrated – A hydrated body helps keep your mind alert and staves off the dreaded brain fog.
- Moderate alcohol and caffeine intake – This is one tip that lots of us might find hard to put into action. But since caffeine is a stimulant and alcohol is a depressant, it’s easy to see that either of the two in excess will alter our natural mood. Try and limit your caffeine intake after lunch, in an effort not to disrupt sleep patterns. And don’t forget those all-important guidelines on alcohol consumption.
- Try Probiotics and Prebiotics – Serotonin is produced in the gut, so if you suffer from low mood or depression, it’s worth paying extra attention to your gut health. Taking a probiotic or prebiotic might help to alleviate your symptoms. It’s important to remember that everybody is different and these supplements can be used as a support tool, but shouldn’t replace prescribed medication. Talk to a registered nutritionist or dietician for further advice.