Health & Wellbeing

Mood-Boosting Shopping list. Food to enhance wellbeing.

A year ago I made the difficult decision to stop taking an antidepressant. So in order to maintain my wellbeing I began to search for ways to replace the hormones naturally.

One of The biggest changes to enhance my wellbeing I have made is what I eat.

What we consume can have a powerful impact on our wellbeing and how we feel. Food is fuel after all!

If caffeine, sugar, and alcohol are best avoided in a diet to combat low mood. What can I add into my diet enhance positive wellbeing?

I try to eat at least 3-5 things off this list every day. This sounds quite a lot, doesn’t it? but once they’re in the cupboards it’s really easy to do.


It’s just a case of sprinkling a bit here or adding a bit there to what you already eat.

For example, Swap your iceberg lettuce to some dark leafy greens.
Throw some nuts on your breakfast, (you can pretty much throw nuts on anything tbh! )
Or dollop some live yogurt on your curry or soup.

Have them on a repeat shopping list. If you always them in the house it’s so easy to grab of rustle up a mood-boosting meal. Eating the foods on a regular basis is key. It’s rare that you will be able to cure a low mood by eating one well-balanced meal. By adding these things to your diet consistently and regularly you’ll see the benefits on your wellbeing long term. This is similar to the way an antidepressant works. It’s the build-up of the nutrients in your system over time that will keep your wellbeing on top form.

I have a list on my fridge so I can review on a regular basis. I keep track of whether I am including these ingredients in my diet and remind me to do so or fit them in where I can.

Also, try a few recipes you like. It can take a bit of experimentation to find a way to include a certain food if you’rere not keen on it.
I have never been a fan of yoghurt. I couldn’t just eat a pot of it, even flavoured, but I love it on a curry, chilli or in coleslaw instead of mayo.

Really experiment and think outside the box.

So here’s the list.

Fatty Fish

Salmon, Mackrel, Anchovies and Sardines, Herring pilchard, kippers, sea bass oysters, prawns and trout are all sources of Good fats

These provide a source of Omega 3 and Vitimin D

Omega 3 in short – fights depression! ~It is brain food, providing clarity of thought and improves memory. Nobody will feel good with a foggy brain!

EPA and DHA are usually low in people who suffer from depression. Eating foods containing these will raise your levels, therefore, decreasing your risk of low mood.

Other sources of omega 3 incde Walnuts, Flaxseed, Chia seeds,Hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, Edammae beans and soya products. Green veg

Soya

There is some conflicting evidence behind the soya products. We know it’s good for us and a power food to include in our diet especially if you don’t eat meat. It’s high in protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals.

It also contains oestrogen. Some studies have shown that the level found in soy products is not to enough to have any effect.


However, other studies show that the isoflavones in soy products can actually have an effect in balancing out the levels of hormones by blocking excess oestrogen.

Don’t worry boys you’re not going to drink a soy latte and have an uncontrollable urge to shave your legs and buy decorative cushions.

Although the evidence can be a little conflicting I am confidently adding this into the blog. I have been using soy products to relieve menstrual stress for a while. I have found through personal experimentation on months where I have reduced my amount of soy in my diet my menstrual symptoms are considerably more intense. So it’s worth a try surely.

Fermented foods,

Gut health is a big thing these days. The gut has a huge impact on our entire bodies. When you look at advice from influencers such as The Gut doctor, The Happy pear company or Deliciously Ella The focus on gut health is key for optimal wellbeing.

The gut is a complex part f the body, digesting food and excretion of waste is just a very small part of what it does.

The gut is known as the second brain.

So keeping this part of our bodies in tip-top condition and being aware of our gut health is paramount.

Studies have shown that our gut health can have a direct impact on our wellbeing. So keeping those little microbes happy inside us is really important for good mental health,

Food such as :


Kimchi
Sauerkraut
Sourdough
Yoghurt- Check the ingredients contains Live cultures.
Kefir – Very similar to yoghurt but contains up to 3 times more probiotics bacteria.
Miso– Fermented Soybeans
kombucha is Chinese tea. Why not try it as a refreshing died tea by adding a little lemon, orange honey and mint. And of course ice.
Tempeh
nuts and seeds

I’ve linked recipes to each of the ingredients to each ingredient. Most of these things can be found in the supermarket. Or try a health food shop like Holland and Barretts.

Veg

We should be eating -Brace yourselves – AT LEAST 30 different plant based foods per week.

This is actually easier than it sounds and I counted ours a while back and we did way over this without even trying.

The keyword here is ‘different’. This does not mean eat 30 carrots for dinner and you’re done! The science is behind a variety of different types of plants which provide different types of nutrients and again leads straight back to the gut. Even the same types of vegetable or fruit in different colours ( like different colours peppers or tomatoes have different nutrients)

An increased plant diet will equal increased fibre. This keeps everything running through smoothly, leaving the second brain do all the work it needs to do as efficiently as it can.

Green veg

Leafy greens are a great source of fibre. They contain B vitamins which help enhance the production of serotonin, and jam-packed with vitamins and minerals

When picking your salad opt for something darker like spinach, and watercress or kale. You could try adding them to a morning smoothie.

Walnut

I don’t think it’s a coincidence they walnut looks like a tiny little brain.

This powerful little nut does wonderful things for our own brains.
They are a source of that all-important Omega 3 which is essential for productive brain function and memory and directly improve mood and combat depression.

They also contain, biotin, magnesium, vitamin E and B6, folate and molybdenum.

Dafrk chocolate

That’s right I said chocolate – feel free to do little happy dance here!

Good quality dark chocolate is actually very nutritious. It’s packed with iron, soluble fiber, magnesium potassium, zinc and a source of antioxidants

Dark chocolate contains flavonols. Flavonols improve brain function and increase mood. Also eating it is pleasurable which will inevitably stimulate endorphins and increase serotonin.

However, we want to be careful we aren’t overdoing it as dark chocolate does contain sugar and caffeine. Too much can have a counterproductive effect. A small piece each day or several times a week will keep you balanced.

Maple syrup

Maple syrup is a fabulous substitute to the relatively useless and often addictive refined white sugar.

It IS still a sugar and should be used with caution. Using it instead of refined white sugar can be extremely beneficial. Maple syrup has a lower GI, therefore, won’t give you the highs and lows of refined white sugar thus decreasing your mood every time it wears off. It is also less likely to become addictive.

It does also contain a number of antioxidants, It has a lower risk of obesity and diabetes, some of the antioxidants are cancer-fighting and help fight inflammatory disease.

Maple syrup is also much milder on the gut letting all the wonderful gut-healthy foods you are about to buy do it’s job much more effectively.


Herbal tea’s

In my blog on Autumns self-care guide, I mention that switching to herbal and decaf at the beginning of October is one of the first things I do to prevent a decrease in my mental health.

Caffeine is a stimulant. If your a sufferer of anxiety and panic attacks a high level of caffeine is a sure-fire way to increase fight or flight response and alertness, thus increasing the level of anxiety.

An easy way to beat this is to switch to decaf or even better switch to herbal there are good few plant-powered tea’s that can help to enhance your wellbeing.

I might sound a little redundant but even the simple act of taking some time out to make and sip a nice cup of hot tea can do wonders on a busy day.

Plants you want to look out for are:

Chammomile
Passionflower
Lavender
Vanilla
Lemon balm
St John’s wart.

You can also get them as a supplament or essential oil.

Most of these Tea’s are easy to come across. Most supermarkets sell a version or combination.

You can even go as far a growing the plants yourself.
Plants like lavender, chamomile and passionflower are simple to grow and can be bought from most garden centres or online.

If your really struggling you can find help HERE !

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