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5 Foods to Make you Happy - Infographic

By Ellie B. Graphic Designer  Friday 22nd January, 2016
5 Foods to Make you Happy - Infographic

You are what you eat. So if you eat unhealthy sugary foods, your mood will often reflect this. If you're feeling a little grumpy or in an energy slump, eating a balanced diet is the first step. Here are five mood-boosting foods to make you happy.

Salmon

Salmon and other oily fish are rich in the omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which have been shown to lower rates of depression, anxiety and irritability by as much as 20%. They work by enhancing levels of serotonin in the brain, which is an important feel-good transmitter. In order to consume sufficient levels of these beneficial omega 3 fatty acids, experts recommend consuming two servings of oily fish per week, such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines, or taking a daily omega 3 supplement. If fish isn’t part of your diet, try flaxseeds and nuts to get your essential omega 3’s.
 

Leafy greens

Leafy greens such as spinach and kale are high in folic acid, deficiencies of which have been closely linked to depression. Folic acid is required for the body’s production of neurotransmitters that regulate mood. Unfortunately, deficiencies are fairly common in mature adults in the UK, with more than 1 in 10 over the age of 75 being deficient. Spinach also contains magnesium, which offers relaxing and calming benefits for the mind.
 

Shellfish

Shellfish are low in fat and a great source of vitamin B12, which can combat fatigue and improve motivation. A deficiency in vitamin B12 inhibits the production of the feel-good hormone serotonin, which can result in depression and irritability. It is estimated that 2 out of every 5 people in the UK have a vitamin B12 deficiency. Shellfish also contain high levels of zinc, which helps to calm and stabilise the mind, and iodine, which keeps the thyroid healthy and regulates metabolism.
 

Bananas

Bananas are rich in magnesium, which helps to relax the body and reduce anxiety. It is estimated that 9% of men and 13% of women in the UK are deficient in this essential mineral. Bananas also contain tryptophan, a type of protein that is converted into serotonin to regulate mood, and vitamin B6, which is needed for this conversion process to take place. There is a growing body of evidence supporting a link between people with depression and low serotonin levels. Vitamin B6 has the added benefit of balancing hormone levels and mood throughout the month. Finally, the rich fibre content of bananas helps to sustain blood sugar levels to prevent crashes in energy or mood.
 

Citrus fruits

Oranges and other citrus fruits are excellent sources of vitamin C, which can help to aid the release of noradrenaline, a chemical which, when deficient, can cause irritability, depressive moods, and generally low energy levels. Vitamin C also aids the absorption of iron, an essential nutrient for fighting fatigue. In the UK, it is estimated that vitamin C deficiency affects 25% of men and 16% of women, while ¼ of women are also deficient in iron. While the fruit should be consumed in order to receive the rich nutrient content, research has found that the scent of citrus fruits alone can offer an instant pick-me-up, lessen anxiety and enhance memory.
 

How else can I boost my mood?

  • Supplements – If your diet alone doesn’t provide enough of the essential nutrients to keep you happy, a high-quality multivitamin can ensure you receive all the vitamins and minerals needed for a balanced mood. Herbal remedies such as St Johns Wort supplements can also be effective at relieving stress, anxiety and depression.
     
  • Exercise – Exercise releases endorphins in the brain that trigger positive feelings, similar to the effects of morphine, which helps to relieve stress and anxiety. Improved self-esteem is another key physiological benefit of regular physical activity. 
     
  • Relaxation – After a tough workout or a long day at work, try relaxing by listening to some calming music or reading a book. A soothing bath can help to relax tired muscles, and adding a few drops of lavender oil can relieve tension and offer mood-boosting qualities.
     

Food really does have a lot of power over how we think and feel, so stock up your cupboards and fridge with these delicious foods to make you happy.

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