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Top mood food tips

With the reduced daylight hours and the sun setting by mid-afternoon, the winter months can be mellow.  It’s tempting to want to warm ourselves up and boost our spirits by reaching for traditional comfort foods.  Unfortunately these tend to be stodgy, high-fat foods that do little for boosting our mood and actually make us feel worse in the long run.  If this sounds familiar and you suffer from winter blues, or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), it’s all the more important to eat well to ensure that you’re getting enough mood-boosting nutrients.  Try following our top mood food tips to keep you feel merry in the run-up to Christmas:

  1. Aim to include oily fish, such as salmon, sardines and mackerel into your diet two to three times per week, and have a handful of seeds or nuts (walnuts and hemp seeds are ideal) per day.  These foods are rich in omega 3 fats which help build receptor sites for ‘the happy hormone’, serotonin.
  2. Include foods that are rich in the amino acid tryptophan in the diet, such as fish, chicken, turkey, oats, eggs, cheese and beans.  This is because tryptophan is needed to produce serotonin.
  3. Eat complex carbohydrates such as oats, brown rice, rye bread, pulses and vegetables.  These help to stabilise blood sugar level fluctuations which can cause mood swings and depression.  They are also rich in brain boosting nutrients such as B vitamins, zinc and magnesium.
  4. Eat three meals a day and a mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack.  Eating little and often helps prevent large dips in blood sugar levels and can leave you feeling low
  5. Avoid artificial stimulants including sugar, refined carbohydrates and caffeine as these play havoc with blood sugar levels and lead to low mood.  This includes white bread, pasta, cakes, many breakfast cereals, chocolate, coffee, alcohol and fizzy drinks.  Diets based on refined foods can reduce your levels of nutrients such as zinc, magnesium and the B vitamins which are vital for good brain health.
  6. Food intolerances can play a part in depression and therefore it may be worth seeking advice from a nutritional therapist to identify the culprit foods.

Find out more about how diet and nutrition can help improve your mood, or contact us to book an appointment at one of our London clinics.

Julia

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