The following article is a guest post written by Sasha Duncan, a journalism student from Sydney and a freelance writer.
We all know that the choice of food we eat affects our physical health, but what about our mental health? You have probably noticed the difference in the way you feel after a greasy cheeseburger and a bowl of fresh fruit. Scientists around the world have been working hard to dig deeper into the connection between food and mood. As complex as our body is, one thing is certain – with a healthy diet, we’ll not only become fit but happier as well. Here are some truths and tips that will show you how you can eat your way to happiness.
Eat good-quality proteins
The amino-acid tryptophan is necessary for the production of serotonin, a feel-good chemical that regulates your mood and sleep. Low serotonin is associated with depression so you want to keep its levels high. Tryptophan has to be a part of your diet because your body can’t produce it yourself. Other key amino-acids include phenylalanine which helps in the production of adrenaline and noradrenaline. These two regulate energy levels, while dopamine regulates emotions. Proteins are an excellent source of these neurotransmitters so make sure you include protein in at least two meals a day. They can be part of your main meal or you can take them as a snack or a protein shake if you’re in a hurry. Tryptophan-rich foods include eggs, oily fish, and chocolate with at least 70% cocoa.
Raise the levels of B vitamins
Aside from healthy fats and protein, B vitamins enhance our brain function and also fight depression. Vitamin B deficiencies can lead to tiredness and low production of feel-good chemicals. Eggs are packed with these goodies, and they can also be found in whole grains, red meat, bananas, dairy, beetroot, and green veggies. Citrus fruit, liver, beans, and green vegetables are rich in folate (vitamin B9) which successfully fights the feeling of depression, especially with older people.
Have your happiness delivered
Australia is a country where people have quite a high level of awareness about the connection between food and health. They understand that to be healthy and feel happy, they need to carefully choose every meal. With the hectic working schedules, prepping meals at home can sometimes be challenging. If you’re one of these people, we have some good news for you. Now you can have your healthy meals delivered in Sydney and enjoy your nutritious and delicious bites both in and out of the office. This is a perfect option for people who don’t always have time to spend hours in the kitchen but still want their meals to be healthy and home-cooked. By doing this, you’ll not only take care of your physical health but it will boost your mood as well.
Boost your brain function with Omega-3 fats
These are responsible for communication of serotonin and dopamine as well as keeping your brain healthy. Several studies have shown a connection between mental health and the intake of Omega-3s. It has also shown a significant role in fighting Alzheimer’s disease and the importance of the development of the brain and eyes with small children. Foods that are rich with Omega-3 fatty acids are oily fish, especially salmon and sardines. Since those who eat a lot of fish are less prone to depression, the message is clear. The more Omega-3 fats you take, the more serotonin you make. Consequently, the happier you’ll be.
Embrace complex carbohydrates
Not all carbs are bad for you. While simple carbs like sugar, white bread, and white pasta can cause blood-sugar spikes and dips, complex carbs will do the opposite. They act as mood-stabilizers since they release the sugar into your blood slowly. Complex carbohydrates also directly affect the production of serotonin and you’ve probably learned by now that serotonin means happiness. So base your diet on the foods that support this little guy and you’ll mood will improve for sure. Sources of complex carbs include wholegrain bread and pasta, brown rice, beans, pulses, and oats. One of the easy yet delicious breakfast recipes includes oatmeal with fresh fruit like blueberries, strawberries, and various nuts. It will pack you up with enough energy to tackle everything that day has stored for you.
Stabilize your mood
Nobody likes mood swings. How many times have you felt exhausted before noon? Most people would grab a cup of coffee or a chocolate bar to elevate their mood. However, in the long run, it will make you feel even worse. So, to stabilize your mood, the first thing you should do is limit your caffeine intake. Eat regular meals to avoid blood-sugar oscillations. Drink plenty of water throughout the day and stay active. Make time for a workout at least 2 to 3 times a week.
As you can see, food and mood are interrelated. Changing your eating habits will undoubtedly put you in a better mood. Aside from being fit and healthy, you’ll carry a smile on your face at all times and that’s something we all strive to.