Have you ever eaten something and just instantly felt happier? It may have been a slow cooked roast lamb or it could have been a superfood salad; there’s no one food group that does it. What it really comes down to the chemical makeup of particular foods, which can help to bolster your mood. Gooo science!
Whether they’re relieving stress, increasing energy or sending a surge of happy hormones through your brain, the following foods are said to be the top mood-boosting munchies. Here’s why…
Bone broth is particularly good at boosting your mood because it’s a mineral rich infusion of organic bones, vegetables, herbs and spices, which results in a feeling of nourishment and warmth.
Not only is bone broth wholesome and full of flavour but it’s also an excellent source of minerals, which can boost the immune system and improve digestion. Studies show that broth made primarily with organic animal bones (like beef or chicken) and simmered for hours on end is a magic elixir that can help with gut issues, relieve tired muscles and revive dry and lifeless hair. The reason a bone broth takes so long to cook is because whilst it’s simmering, it’s breaking down the bones and extracts its contents, like collagen, amino acids and minerals, which results in its high nutritional value. This is why it’s important to use the bones of organic beef or chicken when making your broth; you only want the best! Once you add your veggies and extra spices to your broth, you literally have a golden elixir that is incredibly wholesome and nourishing for your entire body, but especially for your gut. The gut is one of the main factors in how you feel so a healthy and happy gut means a healthy and happy you!
Eggs are a great source of the vital nutrient choline, a nutrient that’s incredibly important for liver function, normal brain development, nerve function, muscle movement, energy levels and a healthy metabolism. Choline and subsequently, eggs, also help nerves to communicate and for muscles to move, which are both associated with mood and energy levels. So when you’ve got a healthy level of choline in your diet, it’s more likely that your energy levels and mood are at healthy levels.
Strange but true! Mussels actually have one of the highest naturally occurring levels of B12, which helps your brain to stay strong and healthy as you grow older. Mussels also contain zinc, selenium and iodine, all of which help to keep one of your body’s biggest mood regulators (the thyroid) running smoothly.
Coconut is another food filled with heart-healthy fats but believe it or not, it can also help to calm you down. Studies have shown that even just the smell of coconut can help to reduce stress by weakening your ‘fight or flight’ response and slowing down your heart rate. So next time you’re feeling a bit stressed out, remember – ‘keep calm and smell a coconut.’
You don’t need to be a scientist to know that chocolate makes people happy. Why? Well firstly, dark chocolate increases the production of endorphins, which are chemicals in your brain that produce feelings of pleasure. It also contains serotonin, which can help to fight depression.
Animals that are raised eating grass have much higher levels of linoleic acid in their bodies, which helps reduce stress hormones. Grass-fed lamb in particular is packed fool of haem (or heme) iron, which is vital for maintaining stable mood levels. Shish kebab anyone?
What a lot of people don’t know about calcium is that it triggers your brain to release ‘feel-good’ neurotransmitters. That’s why nutritionists say that it’s possible thatpeople who don’t have enough calcium in their diet can become anxious, irritable and depressed. Not only is Greek yoghurt full of bone-boosting calcium (more so than any milk or regular yoghurt) but it’s also packed with protein as well. That means you’ll be left feeling full, satisfied and hopefully extra happy.
Numerous studies have found that saffron can help to reduce symptoms associated with PMS, such as mood swings and depression. It’s even been found to have mood improving effect similar to those of clinical antidepressants. That’s one seriously powerful spice. You’ll find saffron in lots of curry dishes but you can also use saffron to make a serving of simple and easy saffron rice.
- Good pinch of saffron threads
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 cups (300g) Basmati rice
- 2 tablespoons roughly chopped coriander
- Crush the saffron and a good pinch of sea salt in a mortar and pestle. Set aside.
- Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook onion, stirring, for 6-8 minutes until softened. Stir in rice. Add 650ml boiling water and bring to the boil. Stir in saffron mixture, reduce heat to low, then cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes until rice is tender. Cool, then fluff with a fork. Garnish with coriander.
Not only is salmon delicious and super filling, it’s also rich in essential fatty acids. These fats actually play an important part in increasing the body’s ability to absorb essential hormones, especially those that help to regulate your mood. Salmon is also loaded with high-quality protein, selenium and B vitamins, which turn the food you eat into energy your body can use, which can help regulate and reinvigorate your mood. Try eating salmon twice a week or you can also take Omega-3 supplements (find them at your chemist) to still reap the benefits.