50 shades of Mood Food

Yes, I’m back onto my foods again! Well, as we are well aware, stroke can be a major factor in mood swings and depression; also, we hear many people saying they suffer from the  ‘winter blues’, with January/February being the main months when they feel that way. Well, this started me thinking about one of my favourite topics again, helping us with how we feel with the aid of simple kitchen cupboard foods.

Instead of reaching for the usual, break the cycle and create a new habit.

Some refer to our gut as our second brain so if we keep this thought in mind next time we are tempted to reach for processed sweet snacks, perhaps it will make it easier to exchange it for some nuts or fruit. Our stomach has eight neurotransmitters that affect our happiness, including serotonin and dopamine, sleep-inducing melatonin and oxytocin.  As much as 90% of serotonin is made in our gut and 50% of dopamine.

I run the risk of repeating myself I know as I mention this in my book too, but I cannot stress enough the value of making small changes. I am not saying in any way give up all the things you like; I of all people have to confess I have not always managed to do that.  I have enjoyed a slice of Christmas cake before typing this, but I also enjoy all the other things I am about to mention. Previously, we would have finished our Christmas cake much earlier than in late January, so clearly I have shown restraint and eat in moderation!

Some examples of the foods you could eat are:

Oats – why not swap your current breakfast choice for porridge and add some chia seeds too? Oats contain tryptophan and complex carbohydrates that are required for the brain to absorb tryptophan.

Pumpkin seeds – these contain magnesium that helps against anxiety.

Sunflower seeds- these contain vitamin B6 that helps with both mood and anxiety.

Dried apricots – these are rich in iron that can help reduce the risk of anemia that in turn causes fatigue and low mood. They also contain vitamin C that helps in the absorption of iron.

When looking at our meals don’t forget to include broccoli for boosting glucose which the brain needs a constant steady supply of; asparagus, when in season for vitamin B1 or thiamine that helps boost your mood and shiitake mushrooms for vitamin D.  Vitamin D helps your concentration level.

Remember to eat daily as many fresh leafy green vegetables as possible, do not over cook them and eat your food slowly, digest it and enjoy.

Simple things, I know, but really do we have a reason not to follow these few things, other than perhaps a personal dislike to one or more of them?

Happy munching!

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