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  • Writer's pictureHelen

Top 5 Foods for Mood

Updated: May 30

The research on the relationship between nutrition and mental health has been growing. Whilst it is important to note that mood can be influenced by many factors, such as stress, environment, poor sleep, genetics, mood disorders and nutritional deficiencies, nonetheless, certain foods have been shown to improve overall brain health and certain types of mood disorders.

A Harvard doctor has recently said that animal products are essential for mental health. Dr Georgia Ede, a Harvard-trained nutritional and metabolic psychiatrist and author of Change Your Diet, Change Your Mind, studies the relationship between what we eat and our mental and physical health. She noted that meat is 'the only food that contains every nutrient we need in its proper form'.These nutrients include vitamin B12, omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, choline, iron, and iodine. There is of course protein, but we can get this through vegetarian or vegan sources. Several studies have suggested that meat eaters have better mental health. 

Approximately 95% of our neurotransmitter serotonin (which regulates mood, sleep and wellbeing) is made in our gut so probiotic-rich foods (fermented foods like yoghurt, kimchi, kefir) and prebiotic foods (onion, garlic) can help with producing more serotonin and thereby helping to lift your mood.

Other nutrients that can help with a better mood are Tryptophan (an amino acid required to make serotonin ). This is found in turkey, chicken, fish, eggs, cottage cheese, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, tahini, Brazil nuts and bananas.

Magnesium, which calms the nervous system. This is found in rye, wild rice, green leafy vegetables (spinach, lettuce, chard, kale and spring greens), nuts and seeds (pumpkin, sesame, sunflower, pistachio, cashew, almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, pecans, coconut), pulses and beans (lentils, lima beans, kidney beans, soya beans), bananas, avocados, garlic, prunes, dates, buckwheat and halibut.

Antioxidants protect the brain from damage by free radicals. Examples of foods are sweet potato, avocado, dark green leafy vegetables, yellow / red peppers, pumpkin, butternut squash, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, watercress, celery, radish, parsley, lettuce, apples, pears, berries, pineapple, mango, papaya, apricots, bananas and kiwi fruit.


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