Eat yourself happy: how nutrition affects mood
Feeling a little worse for wear? Well, it’s no secret that many of us grab for something tasty when we’re feeling down in the dumps. Some of us simply want all the carbs. For others, that pesky sweet tooth kicks in and, before we know it, we’ve made our way through a whole pack of chocolate biscuits – oops.
But have you ever wondered how nutrition affects mood? Believe it or not, certain foods can actually boost your mood! We’re not talking about that warm fuzzy feeling you get when you see the waiter bringing over your double cheese burger and fries – although, let’s face it, that is one of the best feelings. No, we’re talking about foods that are actually scientifically proven to cheer you up! Cool, huh?
Throw a few of these foods into your shopping trolley this week and we can guarantee you’ll feel a little perkier!
A go-to for many super snackers, bananas are so versatile – chop them up over your porridge, blitz them into your smoothies or simply peel and eat when your hunger pangs need a quick yet satisfying fix. Not only are they an easy option but they’re packed full of feel-good nutrients too; vitamin B6 helps convert tryptophan into serotonin, a vital mood-boosting hormone. Tryptophan is also renowned for its use in treatments for conditions such as insomnia and depression so a banana is a great choice if you’re in need of a pick-me-up.
If you’ve yet to hear about the benefits of oily fish then, where have you been!? Packed full of omega 3 fatty acids, a nutrient proven to prevent depression and anxiety, oily fish could give you a much-needed lift on down days. It’s also said to boost brain power so packing salmon, mackerel or sardines into your lunch box could lead to post-lunch productivity.
Hands up who fills up on oats for breakfast? Chances are many of you see oats as an easy, go-to brekkie but, apart from filling you up all damn day, have you considered the other benefits to this complex carb? Due to their low glycaemic index (GI), oats are a great mood booster, working to keep your blood sugar stable and slowly release energy throughout the day, meaning you’re less likely to get grumpy and irritable – yay! Similar to Brazil nuts, oats also contain mineral selenium, perfect for perking you up.
Well, chocolate is the classic feel-good snack, right? But instead of reaching for high sugar varieties of milk and white chocolate, choose a 70%+ dark variety. Just one square of the stuff is enough to release endorphins to the brain and boost serotonin levels. Not ready to head over to the dark side? Our low sugar Carb Killa® chocolate protein bars are sure to boost your mood because, let’s face it, they’re delicious! Just like dark chocolate, they’ll curb that sweet tooth without the unnecessary sugar.
We’re a little bit nuts about nuts here at Grenade® HQ and, thanks to their wealth of health benefits, they’re one of our fave things to snack on. But, word on the street says that Brazil nuts are the go-to when you’re feeling a little low. They’re one of the best sources of selenium, a mineral shown to reduce signs of feelings of irritability, tiredness and anxiety. Easy to graze on throughout the day or to throw into stir-frys and salads, you’ve got no excuse not to get your fill of this nut.
Popeye didn’t fill up on spinach for nothing, you know? This leafy green veggie is packed full of goodness and also includes tons of vitamin B, a must-have for serotonin production. This, in turn, boosts mood and decreases risk of depression and anxiety. Making a salad? Swap lettuce for spinach and reap the benefits. You can also add this vegetable into your stir-fry for added nutrition.
So, who’s going to be adding these essential foods to their shopping list? We certainly will be! If, like us, this post has got you feeling a little peckish, head over to our blog to view a host of delicious protein recipes and nutritional advice.