Let’s face it – we all lead busy lives. Between stressful jobs and hectic social lives, it can be a real struggle to switch off. And that’s bad news for our health.
So making the effort to eat nutritious food that’s as good for our bodies as it is for our minds is always a great idea. Here are a few foods that promote healthfulness, happiness and calm.
Magnesium is a real mood-changer. By supporting the brain chemical serotonin, this mineral can boost energy levels in a flash.
Legumes such as beans, peas and lentils are all packed with magnesium, making them the perfect food for when you’re feeling sluggish. Served up in your favourite recipe, they also make a filling comfort food. Perfect for a stressful day. Moringa is also an excellent source of magnesium.
Walnuts are one of the best sources of serotonin, a chemical in your brain that promotes calm, happiness, and a good night’s sleep. With up to 304 micrograms of serotonin per gram, this stress-busting snack is great for anybody who has trouble nodding off at night.
Other great sources of serotonin include pineapples, bananas, kiwis and tomatoes.
Hormones play a huge role in managing our emotions. This means when they’re off-balance, you certainly know about it. But luckily we can take steps to keep our hormones in check – largely through the food we eat.
Natural fats are vital for hormone health. Acting as building blocks from which the body creates hormones, saturated fatty acids are important in regulating our mood. One great source of saturated fat is coconut oil, so try using it in your cooking for some delicious results.
Herbs aren’t just for flavouring – they also boast some great health benefits. When it comes to tackling stress, lavender is the go-to choice. But don’t limit yourself to the essential oil – try steeping fresh or dried lavender buds in boiling water to make a soothing tea.
Other great mood enhancing herbs include sage and basil. Indian Holy Basil is the holy grail when it comes to treating stress, but a good helping of garden basil can have a calming effect too.
Berries such as raspberries, blueberries and blackberries are brilliant brain food. According to a 2012 study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, eating berries can benefit the brain in many ways. Free radicals slow down our mental function, but the high levels of antioxidants found in these super fruits can protect cells from this type of damage. So keep on top of your mental game eating as many different types of berry as possible.
Naturopathic practitioners have long understood the calming effects of the root of the ashwagandha shrub. Also known as Indian ginseng and winter cherry, this herb has been shown to reduce stress levels and lead to better sleep. On top of its mood-elevating effects, studies have shown that ashwagandha has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial benefits.