Spring is a time when many of us let go of old routines, which no longer serve our health and set new goals for the warmer months ahead. If you can’t seem to get out of winter hibernation mode and are feeling a little flat, here the top foods to help support a healthy mood:
Probiotic rich foods – natural yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut, tempeh, miso and kimchi
We are learning more and more about the gut-brain connection and its impact on our mood. If you aren’t familiar with this concept, essentially, our gut and brain are linked as they share many of the same nerve endings, hormones and neurotransmitters. So it only makes sense that what is going on in the gut with impact mood and vice versa! This means, taking care of gut health is important to support a healthy mood and including some probiotic rich foods into your diet is one way to do this.
Prebiotic rich foods – leeks, onions, garlic, psyllium, asparagus and oat bran
Prebiotics get a little less airtime compared to probiotics, but are equally as important! If you aren’t aware already, prebiotics are carbohydrate-containing foods known to resist digestion in the small intestine and therefore are a fuel for gut flora in the colon. This means, prebiotics are required to help feed the good bugs in our digestive system. Next time you go to eat some probiotic rich foods, don’t forget the prebiotics too!
Wholegrains (brown rice, quinoa, barley, freekeh) and vegetables
Research has proven time and time again that whole grains and vegetables are both supportive of a healthy mood. The main reason for this is because they contain fibre, antioxidants and an array of vitamins and minerals. All of which help to fight against oxidation and inflammation -two key factors implicated in low mood. And the fibre content also helps to support gut health.
Spices – Saffron and Turmeric
Spices such as saffron and turmeric are a part of everyone’s spice kits these days – and for good reason! Not only do they add colour and flavour to meals, but they also exert antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects on the body. Preliminary research is showing their protective effects on mental health. When cooking with turmeric, it’s important to add a source of fat and pepper to help aid absorption and reap the most benefit.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
A hallmark of the Mediterranean diet, linked to better mood, is olive oil. So, it only makes sense that olive oil is beneficial for mood! Extra virgin olive offers a dose of monounsaturated fats and antioxidants, both of which are linked to less mood disorders. Adding extra virgin olive to your meals can also make you feel more satisfied by food, which has a direct impact on blood sugar, energy and therefore mood.