Five of the best foods for improving your mood
Food is fuel for your brain and body - whether you're an athlete, office worker or busy parent
What you put in your body is essential for optimal health, and that includes your mood and cognitive function.
To eat for a good mood, you need a full range of nutrients from the five major food groups:
- Starchy foods such as rice, potatoes, and wholemeal bread and pasta
- Fruit and vegetables (at least five portions a day)
- Protein sources such as meat, fish, beans and eggs
- Dairy foods such as milk, cheese and yoghurt
- Healthy fats (choose healthier, unsaturated fat products)
Within these food groups, AXA PPP Healthcare have honed in on the certain vitamins and minerals with particular significance on your mood and energy levels:
A lack of iron can make you feel lethargic, so choose lean red meat, canned fish and liver. Certain breads (such as rye and Ezekiel) are also fortified with iron and can be a useful source for vegetarians. If you are vegetarian, don’t drink tea with your meals as this reduces the absorption of iron from food. Try fruit juice instead – the vitamin C enhances iron absorption.
You need B vitamins for nervous energy. A deficiency can make you feel depressed or irritable. You can get these good guys from animal protein, yeast extracts, wholegrains and fortified cereals – just be mindful of sugar with the latter.
This has been shown to reduce feelings of negative mood. Good food sources of selenium include Brazil nuts, meat, fish and eggs. Walnuts and Brazil nuts also provide potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc and vitamin E.
Feeling good comes from a diet that gives you a steady supply of glucose, so you need to have a regular intake of low-glycaemic carbohydrates. Choose moderate amounts of pasta, beans, lentils, bulgur wheat, seeded or granary breads, and fruit and vegetables. This doesn't mean you should sink high-sugar carb gels at every opportunity.
Studies have also suggested that having insufficient folate in your diet can increase your chances of feeling low and lacking in energy. You get folate from liver, green vegetables, citrus fruits, beans, yeast extract and breakfast cereals.
Read more: intermittent fasting - is the hype justified?