Sometimes for no apparent reason, you feel low, crabby or irritated. You don’t want to meet or talk to anyone; you just want to lay low, doing nothing. The only thing you do feel like doing is to cuddle up on your bed with your comforter and stare in to space – just vegetate. But because you have an action packed schedule with lots of things on your “Today’s To-Do list” you have to get up and get going – get on with your day’s work! What are you going to do? How will you shake off that listlessness and get cracking?
When you are feeling down in the dumps eating the right kind of food can lift you right up and help you get through your action-packed day. Yes it’s true: what you eat can actually alter your brain chemistry!
Here is a list of some food items that help to enhance our mood:
- Caffeinated drinks:
Whenever you are feeling blue, nothing can pick you up better than a cup of coffee. Caffeinated drinks such as coffee, black tea, green tea or oolong tea release a brain chemical called dopamine which is known to give us a boost in energy, optimism and sharpens our focus, thereby improving our outlook.
Munching on some carbs is sure to get you up and moving. Slow-Release-Carbohydrates promote secretion of a feel-good chemical serotonin which helps to bring back the punch in our day. Some good sources of slow-release carbs are oats, whole wheat breads, Cous-Cous, barley and porridge.
Our body cannot produce the ‘feel-good’ chemical serotonin without an aminoacid called tryptophan. So make sure you throw in some protein rich foods such as eggs, chicken, soya bean, milk and nuts to your carbohydrate-rich snack. This protein-carb combination is sure to impact your mood positively.
- Folate and Vitamin B:
Foods rich in Folate and Vitamin B are known to reduce anxiety and depression. Foods rich in Folate and Vitamin B are spinach, beans, citrus fruits like strawberries and melons. Folate is water soluble and cannot be stored in our body, so it is necessary that we replenish our body with this vitamin daily.
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids:
Foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids such as nuts, avocados, pumpkin seeds, and oily fish such as salmon are mood enhancers. They help to elevate our mood and are known to lower the incidence of depression by increasing serotonin and dopamine release in our body.
Spices such as turmeric, chillies, jalepenos, saffron and pepper tend to increase release of the ‘feel-good endorphins’ such as dopamine and serotonin and they protect neurons from the damaging effect of chronic stress.
Almost everyone gets a sparkle in their eyes at the thought of chocolate. Chocolate is known to give you an instant high and pull you out of your slump instantly. A study conducted by Nestle revealed that those who ate chocolate everyday for two weeks reduced stress hormones in people who were highly stressed.
So next time you are feeling grouchy, don’t snap or sulk; just raid the kitchen for a quick fix for yourself! Bite into your favourite chocolate; whip up a bowl of porridge topped with crunchy strawberries and nuts or share a steaming cup of coffee with your spouse and kick start your day on a high note.