This week’s featured Innerform™ article was written by Lisa Thompson, founder of Self Love Beauty, PR professional and fitness instructor. On top of seasonal depression, winter often brings poor diet and irritability. Lisa recommends incorporating the following foods into your diet to naturally boost your mood.
If you often feel tired, stressed or anxious then you may find that your diet is to blame! Thankfully, you can offset these ailments by supplementing your diet with the following mood-boosting foods. Packed full of essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals, the following foods have the potential to improve your overall brain function, reduce your stress levels and prevent the development of long term neurological disorders:
1 – Coconut
If you find yourself feeling stressed or depressed, the smell of coconut could soothe your mood! The natural scent of coconut has the power to lessen your body’s natural ‘fight or flight response’. So what does this mean? It helps slow your heart rate and reduce your body’s production of stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. In fact, a pilot study at Colombia University reported that participants who breathed in coconut saw their blood pressure recover more quickly after a challenging task.
2 – Fish
Oily fish such as salmon, tuna and sardines are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids. These healthy fats alter our brain’s dopamine and serotonin levels; the chemicals associated with mood. Reduced cell death and brain inflammation (two factors that trigger depression) has also been associated with consuming these healthy fats. Adding a few fish dishes into your weekly diet can help to prevent depression and boost your morale.
3 – Tea
Frequently turn to a cup of coffee for a quick boost? You can actually achieve better focus with a cup of tea! According to a study published in The Journal of Nutrition, the amino acid theanine which is present in caffeinated black, green and oolong teas works synergistically with the caffeine in these drinks in order to improve your mental focus and attention span. Subsequently, by drinking between 5 and 8 cups of tea a day you can feel refreshed and energised without the wired side effects often associated with cups of coffee.
4 – Avocados
Did you know that an avocado contain more potassium than a banana? This is an important distinction because potassium is an essential nutrient for learning, memorizing information and completing tasks. Without it, you can feel lethargic, stressed, irritable, anxious and more prone to mood swings. Studies have also shown that participants previously suffering from depression reported improvement in their moods when their intake of potassium-rich foods increased. Who knew that your homemade guacamole or daily avocado on toast could have such an important impact on your brain functions?
5 – Broccoli
Broccoli and other dark green leafy vegetables like asparagus, bok choi, spinach and spring greens have high concentrations of folate. Folate and folic acid is often recommended to pregnant women due to its ability to prevent birth effects. However, pregnant or not, this essential nutrient can also substantially reduce your likelihood of suffering from depression. Folate is instrumental to healthy brain function, so adding at least one sizable portion of leafy greens to your daily diet can work wonders for your overall mood, mental focus and long term neurological health.