Let’s be honest, being an adult is not always fun and reaching for your favourite indulgent snack can snap you straight out of your self-loathing – temporarily. But while biting into a Tim Tam may bring you momentary joy after an otherwise stressful day, it is also bound to send you crashing back down when your blood glucose drops.
When it comes to food, It’s time to ask, will the snack you’re reaching for really bring you happiness and renewed energy or will the empty calories and refined sugar leave you feeling flat and deflated in next to no time?
If you are looking to improve your mood and add a dose of happiness into an otherwise stressful day – here is what to reach for when you need a pick me up.
Nothing will boost your mood and bring bliss like a colourful plate of food. Eating the rainbow is not only shown to bring enjoyment, but as science would have it, is set to improve your mood. A study published in the American Journal of Public Health found a correlation between eating extra servings of fruit and vegetables and feelings of happiness. The 12,000 strong participant study found that those who ate antioxidant rich foods recorded higher levels of joy over a two-year period than those that didn’t.
It’s time to get chopping, blending and pouring. Whether a big colourful salad, or even smoothie bowl, eating your way into a better mood has never looked better.
Did you know that magnesium is known as the “anti-stress” mineral? It not only helps relieve muscle aches and pains, it also helps promote better sleep. A winning combination after a stressful day. Because nothing will help boost your happiness like a good night’s sleep.
Not sure where to start? The news is about to get even better. Quality dark chocolate is packed full of magnesium as are avocados, legumes and tofu.
Reach for a handful of nuts
Whether you’re an almond or Brazilian nut kind of girl, reaching for a handful of your favourite variety is set to boost your mood in next to no time. Not only are nuts packed full of magnesium, they also help boost our serotonin levels. Almonds, pecans and walnuts are especially beneficial for women as they not only help to alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression, they also aid in hormonal imbalances.
Now the answer is not necessarily a pecan pie, but a salad with a handful of nuts will help put shift your mood. Feel good food sans the guilt of empty calories.
Make it gut friendly
Here is a fun fact. Around 90% of our ‘feel good’ neurotransmitter serotonin is manufactured in our gut tract. That’s right, our happy hormone actually comes from the gut, and our gut and brain are in constant communication. This means boosting our mood and happiness may mean focusing on our gastrointestinal health first.
If you are feeling flat why not opt for gut friendly foods such as probiotics, fermented foods and plenty of antioxidant rich plants. Kimchi is always a good idea!
Reach for an egg
There is a reason nutritionists love eggs (and evidently so do we). Packed full of vitamin B12, folate, protein and healthy fats, eggs make the perfect snack as they are both filling and help aid in brain function. Contrary to reaching for your left over Easter eggs, a hard-boiled egg will aid in brain function, helping keep you focused and on task. The added bonus is that these handy snacks are packed full of carotenoids. Found in the egg yolk, carotenoids help promote optimism – but don’t take it from us. Trust studies carried out at Harvard.
And finally don’t forget to…
Love your food – from going to the local farmer’s markets and getting to know your produce supplier all the way down to the last delicious bite. Mindful eating is shown to promote a healthier relationship with food and in turn increase happiness, and when one looks at what this entails, it’s easy to see why. From observing your portion sizes, to focusing on food colour, texture, taste and even temperature, mindful eating encourages you to reconnect with your food.