We may not notice it but most of the food we consume is actually conspiring against us to make us feel worse. Sure, that big bag of chips, juicy tikka roll or that tub of ice cream may have given you momentary satisfaction but is the lethargy and bloated belly that follows really worth it? Conversely, there are plenty of clean and healthy foods that can keep your body and mind in a better place, in addition to being delicious. These nutritional powerhouses not only boost your mood naturally but also keep you energised for the daily hustle and bustle. Take a look at the following good mood foods.
Leafy GreensYou may frown at the sight of leafy greens but Shingote says, “Regular consumption of green leafy vegetables such as spinach, lettuce, methi (fenugreek) and dill apart from having many health benefits also boast the potential to improve your mood.” These vegetables, especially the dark leafy ones, are packed with omega-3 fatty acids and inflammation-fighting foods. They also feature high content of magnesium which plays a major role in brain function and mood. “These green leafy vegetables also contain folate and Vitamin B which are partly responsible for producing serotonin, a natural mood stabiliser,” she explains. But make sure you’re blanching your greens to keep their nutritional value intact. Read this if you’re not sure whether you should avoid leafy greens during the monsoon.
BananasOne of the many reasons to go bananas over a banana is that this fruit can keep you at ease throughout the day when consumed for breakfast. The coastal regions of India simply cannot have enough of this tropical fruit. Just like others of its league, banana contains mood-boosting elements such as dopamine and folate. Dopamine, just like serotonin, is a neurotransmitter whose function is to get you to pursue things that give you pleasure. You can do a lot with overripe bananas too. What’s more? It’s not just the fruit but other parts that can be used as an ingredient too.
(Also read: Are you making the most of your bananas?)
BroccoliThanks to its cancer-fighting properties, broccoli is one of the most researched vegetables. In many of these studies, experts have found that this vegetable can help relieve mood swings, protect against ageing and fight depression. Broccoli contains a high amount of flavonoids which are associated with regulating one’s mood. These broccoli recipes will help get you started.
Adding a few berries to your breakfast cereal or yogurt could be the key to feeling great all day long, says Gauri Shingote, CEO and Head of Nutrition, Juvenate Wellbeing. The berry family that is blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, gooseberries and boysenberries have a high content of antioxidants such as anthocyanidins. These elevate brain function and promote a healthy nervous system. They are also rich in flavonoids which regulate mood and reduce inflammation. In fact, a study from 2016, published in Science Daily, found that eating blueberries could help reduce the genetic and biochemical drivers behind depression and the suicidal tendencies associated with the disorder. However, it is best to consult your doctor before using these berries to treat or prevent mental health conditions. Check this out for blueberry recipes ideas.
Must try - Blueberry Slush
BeetrootBeetroot contains betaine which is used by the brain to produce SAMe, a compound that acts as a natural anti-depressant. Basically, a compound that helps us feel relaxed and calm. Besides this, Kavita Haldia, Head of Nutrition, VLCC mentions that beets are a rich source of the vitamin B folate that helps boost one’s mood. Click here for beetroot recipes. Besides its many health benefits, beetroot is also great for your skin!
Must try - Tomato Cobbler
WaterShingote makes a special mention of water. “Often referred to as the forgotten nutrient, water promotes digestive health, repletes dehydration and allows the blood to carry other nutrients more efficiently to different parts of the body. This makes one feel fresh from inside out,” concludes the expert. But how much water is enough? Read this to find out whether we really need eight glasses of water a day.
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