Mood Enhancing Foods!

Food and mood, eating a poor diet can damage your mood. One of the major factors in mood enhancing foods is serotonin. High levels of serotonin keep a person relaxed and calm, with high concentration levels. Serotonin is responsible for mood, sleep and appetite levels. Unhappy feelings can be caused by low serotonin levels. Foods with high levels of serotonin include turkey, chicken and fish. High fibre cereals, bananas and whole grain products can also boost mood.

Fat is important in good mood food categories. Foods with high fat content release endorphins (which makes the person happy). Remember to stick with healthy fats i.e. fish oils. Other good mood foods include those high in protein. Protein contains tyrosine which increases dopamine and norepinephrine levels – chemicals responsible for alertness and excitement.

Good mood foods also include foods high in essential vitamins and minerals. Lack of folic acid in the diet is a factor in depression. Foods high in folic acid include turkey, leafy vegetables and asparagus. A lack of selenium in diets can contribute to anxious, unhappy feelings. Foods rich in selenium include tuna, eggs and wholegrains.

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A list of mood enhancing foods include:

Salmon: Full of omega-3 fatty acids, salmon is important for brain activity, energy production and circulation. Salmon is good for a healthy heart. Wild caught salmon contains double the recommended daily amount of vitamin B12. (Vitamin B12 consumption contributes to good mental health).

Bananas: rich in B vitamins and potassium which provide a more sustained release of energy. The vitamins and minerals in bananas enable you to feel full, slows down digestion and keep blood sugar levels stable.

Coconuts: oils in coconuts provide medium chain triglycerides, a type of fat that is turned into energy quickly and efficiently. Coconuts are used by the body to produce energy (rather than store it as fat). Coconuts prevent you from feeling sluggish.

Lentils: Lentils and other legumes i.e. chickpeas and kidney beans help stabilize blood glucose levels and prevent mid afternoon energy slumps. Having lentils at lunch will stretch your energy levels that bit further.

Eggs: a good source of protein and iron. Eggs are also rich in B vitamins which convert food into energy. With eggs you get sustainable energy which will last throughout the day.

Nuts: hazelnuts, almonds and cashews are high in magnesium which play a major role in the conversion of sugar into energy. Nuts are filled with fibre which keep blood sugar levels even. A handful or two of nuts is good to use as a snack. It is important to remember that nuts are high in calories and fat.

Asparagus: Low energy levels affect your mood. Asparagus is one of the best plant based sources of tryptophan which helps to create serotonin. Serotonin is one of the brain’s main mood regulating neurotransmitters. The high levels of folate in asparagus also contribute to feeling good.

I will write about bananas and interesting nutritional facts about them next week on my blog.Watch this space!


Nutritious Tasty Food on a Budget

Beat any January blues with nutritious tasty food on a budget. Here are some tips about buying, preparing and eating nutritious food on a budget.

Waste nothing: Buy foods that you will eat. Planning meals in advance avoids wastage. Search online for discounts and vouchers before you go shopping.

Buy frozen fruit and vegetables: There is less preparation time involved when using frozen fruit and vegetables. Frozen fruit and vegetables come pre-chopped. Frozen fruit and vegetables are often a cheaper option. Remember to avoid using those with added fat, sugar or salt.

Eat more vegetables: Meat and fish are generally the most expensive ingredients of a meal. Add more vegetables to dishes. Eat a few vegetarian meals per week which helps keep costs down.

Eggs are a good meat substitute, they are cheap,  nutritious and high in protein i.e. vegetable omelette, vegetarian quiche and even scrambled eggs and toast for breakfast.

Cook Using Pulses: Peas, beans and lentils are cheap vegetables. Pulses are low in calories and fat. Pulses are full of fibre, minerals and vitamins. Pulses can be used in main meals to replace some of the meat, for example chilli con carne with kidney beans.

Buy Chicken Whole: My husband is always saying this and practices this regularly. From a whole chicken you get two breasts, wings, thighs and drumsticks. These portions can be frozen separately. The carcass can also be used when making stock and soups.

Compare pre-packed fruit and vegetables prices with loose: Fruit and vegetables can be more expensive when pre-packed. Check the price per kilo. Pre-packed fruit and vegetables are not always the freshest.

Supermarkets discount fresh items towards the end of the day. Reduced foods to clear can save lots of money. Remember to check the best before and use by dates.

Beat the winter blues with mood enhancing foods – my topic for tomorrow!

Amazon’s Choice for ‘coconut oil’

Catriona’s Nutrition Blog

Hi and welcome to Catriona’s Nutrition Blog. This is my first time blogging, I’m excited about this! This blog provides interesting and educational nutrition posts.

I have an academic background in human nutrition and food science. I completed a BSc (Hons) Human Nutrition with DIS (Diploma in Industrial Studies) and MSc in Food Science.

New Year and new beginnings. What will 2018 bring in relation to nutrition and healthy eating? Nutrition on a budget is especially important in January after all our Christmas spending. Time is precious. Most of us do not have the time to spend hours over the cooker or in the kitchen preparing meals.

Come back tomorrow for healthy eating tips on a budget that will get us through the end of winter and into spring.