Did you know that the foods you eat can impact your mood?
Serotonin is a chemical that can stabilise mood, assists with sleep and digestion as well as contributes to feelings of happiness. Around 90% of the serotonin in our bodies is produced in your gastrointestinal tract, which is why it is important to keep our ‘good bacteria’ in the gut happy by feeding it appropriate foods.
What foods keep the good bacteria happy and flourishing?
- High fibre foods such as wholegrains, fruits and vegetables – foods rich in resistant starch are the particular star here!
- Probiotic foods such as yoghurt
- Fermented foods such as sauerkraut or kefir
There are also other important food groups that have been shown to help improve mood in ways that are different to those listed above, these include:
Plant based foods
These have many health benefits and includes lentils, legumes, vegetables, nuts and seeds – these are all high in antioxidants and fibre which has been linked to enhanced mood, they are also high in B vitamins which your body requires for energy production. For some simple and delicious ideas on how to get more plants in your diet head to our article about simple swaps to optimise your (gut) health.
Omega 3 fatty acids
Foods high in omega 3 fatty acids include salmon, trout and tuna – Omega 3 fatty acids assist with the release of serotonin, essentially helping the happy hormone work more efficiently.
These include foods such as oats, rye, brown rice, wholemeal bread. These nutritious foods contain the amino acid tryptophan which the body requires to produce serotonin. Trytophan also has an important role when it comes to getting to sleep.
Improve your diet by adding in, not taking away!
Rather than focusing on the foods that you need to reduce in your diet, why not focus on all the amazing foods that you can include in your diet. Find ways to include these foods in your favourite meals such as adding beans and lentils to mince dishes and grating vegetables into meals etc. This isn’t to say you can’t enjoy your favourite foods in moderation, as food is there to be enjoyed!
Consuming more plant based wholefoods makes your body feel good, not only mentally but physically as well. These foods have been shown to have short and long term benefits including increased energy, reduced fatigue and aid in weight loss, just to name a few. Increasing your consumption of plant foods will have you feeling more energised and satisfied immediately – cross our heats.
If we are thinking about more long term health benefits associated with eating more plant foods, the list is nearly endless. It includes reduced risk of conditions and diseases like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease to name a few.
During stressful times it can be tempting to reach for more comfort foods however, the foods we have suggested above will help you feel better and happier in the long run. So why not start to include these in your meals today!