Mood food

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Written by Sue Radd

If you have days when you feel down and blue, you’re not alone. Our fastpaced, modern lifestyle can easily zap energy levels.

A recent report, ”Changing Diets, Changing Minds”,  from the UK highlights the growing problem in the area of mind, mood, and well-being, which industrialised countries face. It reports a 20-fold increase in depression since 1945.

Apart from a breakdown in traditional social networks and relationships, financial stresses, and increased work hours, our diets have changed over the last 50 years. We eat less fresh, local produce and more refined and processed foods that hide unwanted sugars, fats, and additives. And yet, what we feed ourselves can make a world of difference to how our brain functions and how we feel.

5 ways to lift your mood

1. Have a good breakfast every day

It will refuel your brain, lift your mood, and lower stress levels. Breakfast is brain food!

2. Include foods rich in B vitamins

These include wholegrain breads and high-fibre breakfast cereals, green leafy vegetables, soybeans and other legumes, sunflower seeds, and low-fat dairy or B12-fortified soy milk. Vitamin B12, and folate in particular, can assist with low mood and depression.

3. Include foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids to make you happy

Although a vegetarian diet is always desirable, try salmon (if personally acceptable), linseeds, walnuts, or omega-3 enriched eggs.

The type of fats you eat can have a profound effect on your brain function since 50 percent of the brain is made up of fat! The cells that transmit signals in the brain are unusually rich in omega-3 fats, meaning this fat is really important. Yet depressed people have low levels in the body.

4. Drink plenty of water

Aim for at least 8 glasses daily. Dehydration causes fatigue and is sometimes mistaken for hunger. Adequate water is needed to keep brain cells functioning optimally.

5. Activate yourself

Walk daily to boost your self-esteem, distract yourself from negative thought processes, and help you sleep better.

If you have days when you feel down and blue, you’re not alone. Our fastpaced, modern lifestyle can easily zap energy levels.

Reprinted, with permission, from Signs of the Times. 

For information about depression:
Lifeline New Zealand
Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand
Depression Helpline
The Low Down

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