I see a lot of people when they have a bad day, reach for unhealthy food like deep fried food, takeaways or sugary chocolate. They think this kind of “comfort” food will make them feel better, when in fact eating unhealthy food like this on a bad day can only make things worse. These foods can make you feel tired and drowsy, raising your blood sugar to only crash down after. They can also leave you feeling bloated, irritable, nauseous, as well as still hungry and wanting more. What if I could tell you that that there are plenty of delicious foods you can eat that are not only good for you but also have mood boosting qualities to them too. Let me just note that we shouldn’t go to food as a form of comfort on our bad days, as that can trigger emotional eating. However rather than reaching for your unhealthy snacks it’s better to incorporate healthy mood boosting foods into your diet as much as you can. My new new F.I.T. program is filled with these foods, so we are not only making you feel great through exercise but through providing your body with key nutrients to make you feel happier and healthier in your daily life.
1. Walnuts and flaxseed
Omega 3 fats not only help with cognitive function but have also been shown to improve our mood. That’s because Omega 3’s alter our brain chemicals of dopamine and serotonin, which is linked to our moods. Low serotonin levels is linked to depression and anxiety, so it's important to keep our seratonin levels healthy. Walnuts and flaxseed are filled with omega 3 essential fats making them a great addition to your diet. Have walnuts as a snack in the afternoon or add some flaxseed to your morning smoothie.
2. Vitamin C rich fruit and vegetables
So we all know how good vitamin C is for our immune system but it can also be great for our mood. People who are deficient in vitamin C can often feel fatigued or depressed. One of the best sources of vitamin C is from vitamin C rich fruits and vegetables like, oranges, kiwifruit, strawberries, papaya, dark leafy greens, berries, broccoli and bell peppers.
3. Swiss Chard
Swiss chard is a great dark leafy green to incorporate into your diet due to it’s high magnesium content. Magnesium is an essential nutrient for the biochemical reactions in the brain that help to give your energy levels a boost. In fact some studies show a huge link between stress and magnesium deficiency, so for people who live hectic lives it’s good to eat magnesium rich foods.
Bananas are another great source of magnesium and a healthy addition to your diet. They also contain tryptophan, which is an important amino acid that converts into the mood lifting hormone serotonin. Bananas make for a great pre workout snack, with a tablespoon of natural almond butter.
5. Raw cacao
Everybody has heard about how chocolate is good for the mood. That’s because it contains cacao, which contains anandamide, a substance that gives you a feeling of euphoria. It also has phenylethylamine which is another mood enhancer. However the problem is most go for chocolate that has high amounts of sugar, which will only give you crash soon after. So rather then going for a processed chocolate bar, get cacao in it’s purest raw form and add to your food that way. I’ve got lots of delicious recipes on the blog that use raw cacao, including chocolate protein balls and chocolate fudge brownies.
6. Chia seeds
Chia seeds are not only filled with the good omega 3 fats but they also have high levels of vitamin C. In fact they even have more vitamin C than oranges, making them a great addition to your diet to help with your mood. My favourite way to eat chia seeds is to make a chia seed pudding. Simply add chia seeds, to unsweetened almond milk or coconut milk, add your fruit of choice and then put in the fridge till the chia seeds swell and absorb all the liquid. Then you have yourself a delicious tasting treat that doesn't need to come with any guilt.
How you feel on a day to day basis can be hugely determined by what you eat. So rather then going for that unhealthy comfort food if you have a bad day, reach for some of these amazing healthy foods instead. Not only will it be great for your body but your mind too. In fact it’s good to fill your diet on a dialy basis with these types of foods which is exaclty why I include as much of them as I can in my new F.I.T. program. I believe the key to a happy healthy life isn't just by how we move our bodies, but also what we put in it.