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10 foods to beat the winter blues

10 foods to beat the winter blues

Saturday, November 19, 2016 - 09:29

Combat the winter blues by eating these great good mood foods. Eaten regularly they can help to keep you smiling into spring …. happy munching!

For many of us the long winter, cold days and dark nights will be taking their toll on our mood but don't despair by taking regular exercise, thinking positively and eating the right brain-boosting foods you can lift your mood.

Here are 10 great good mood foods for you and your little ones - try to eat them regularly to help keep you smiling into spring …. happy munching!

1.  Salmon is high in omega 3 essential fatty acids

Wild salmon is a top mood boosting food due to its high levels of omega 3 essential fatty acids (EFA's), in particular EPA and DHA. These EFA's help to keep the membranes of brain cells healthy which means that vital nutrients and oxygen are able to pass through them which may contribute to good mood. EFA's also help to support brain cells to communicate effectively with the whole body.

2.  Chia seeds are packed with omega 3 essential fatty acids

These pleasantly tasting wonder seeds were traditionally consumed by the Aztecs and are packed with omega 3 EFAs. Soak or grind before adding to smoothies, cereal and salads to release oils for better absorption.

3.  Probiotic yoghurt helps restore the balance of protective intestinal microflora in the gut

There is a strong link between the health of your gut and the health of your nervous system known as the gut-brain axis. It is now thought that nerve cells in the brain are in constant communication with gut cells and disturbances in both the brain and gut can adversely impact on each other; as is seen in stress and IBS. Depression has been linked to reduced gut health so a serving of probiotic yoghurt each day may help to restore the balance of protective intestinal microflora which may help to support mood.

4.  Filtered or still mineral water with ensure hydration

Brain cells require water to function optimally. When the body is dehydrated the structure of our brain cells is adversely affected reducing their function. Dehydration increases the concentration of substances in our cells, the pH changes and enzyme function is altered which can result in fatigue and impaired cognitive function. Choosing filtered or mineral water will reduce the risk of heavy metals contamination which have been link to brain disturbances.

5.  Avocados are packed full of monounsaturated fats which help to keep brain cells healthy

These fruits are full of monounsaturated fats which again contribute to healthy cell membranes of our brain cells. Healthy brain cell membranes enhance cellular communication, regulation of hormones and the flow of nutrient and oxygen to the brain.

6.  Walnuts contain high levels of omega 3 fatty acids and alpha-linolenic acid.

These are the mac daddy of the nut world, containing high levels of omega 3 fatty acids and alpha-linolenic acid. They are also packed with the antioxidant ellagic acid which may protect brain cells from free radical damage meaning that brain cells stay healthier.

7.  Linseeds and Flax Oil are a great source of omega 3 essential fatty acids

Another useful source of omega 3 EFA's to support good mood. Use the seeds ground to achieve better absorption or as an oil in dressings. Ensure that pre -ground flaxseeds have been stored in the fridge or are vacuum-sealed to ensure that these precious oils have not been damaged by oxidation.

8.  Soybeans contain lecithin which supports the nervous system

These popular beans contain lecithin which play an important role in nervous system health. Lecithin acts as a precursor to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine that is essential to cognitive function.

9.  Organic Dark Chocolate contains phenylethylamine a mood boosting neurotransmitter

Chocolate contains phenylethylamine, a neurotransmitter that is released by nerve cells at euphoric moments. Through a similar mechanism, eating dark chocolate may stimulate feelings of reduced anxiety and being relaxed, but stick to only a couple of squares a day so you don't gain unwanted weight that may effect self-esteem and counteract chocolates' mood enhancing effects!

10. Porridge Oats contains the amino acid tryptophan which is crucial for serotonin production.

Oats contain the amino acid tryptophan which is essential to serotonin production - the feel good hormone. Research has shown the depletion of tryptophan can down regulate mood and lead to increased depression,insomnia and anxiety symptoms.

Tuck in and be happy :-)

Check out Lola's Quinoa courgette and carrot stirfry 

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