Improve Your Mood with These 6 Foods

Covid-19 has impacted many of us. Family life, work life, social life – everything has shifted. In times like these, where stress levels are elevated, it can be easy to neglect our healthy eating habits.

Now more than ever, paying attention to the foods you eat is important. There’s a strong link between what you eat and how you feel – both physically and mentally. Highly processed foods that are high in sugar and/or fat may provide comfort and boost your mood initially, but relying on a diet packed with these foods will leave you feeling lethargic, foggy and flat in the long run.

The science behind the mood-food connection is evolving and we now know that there are certain foods and nutrients that can power the brain and help regulate our mood in the long term. Time to rethink your feel good food list and start adding foods that are rich in these brain-healthy nutrients to your plate.

Dietitians Anna & Alex from The Biting Truth have shared some of the best foods to boost your mood so that you can eat your way to a happier, healthier you.

1. Salmon

Salmon is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. Research suggests people who are deficient in omega-3 fatty acids may be more susceptible to depression and low mood, as these fatty acids make up a large percentage of our brain tissue. Omega-3 fatty acids are vital for good mental health, brain function, energy production, oxygen transfer and immunity. Salmon also contains vitamin B12, which helps produce brain chemicals that impact our mood. Studies have found that low levels of B12 may be linked to depression.

Add some mood-food to your lunch with this recipe for Asian Huon Salmon Salad.

2. Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds contain tryptophan, which is an amino acid needed to make several important hormones, including the mood regulating neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin plays a role in reducing anxiety, promoting good moods and producing the hormone melatonin to help regulate your sleep pattern.

Add pumpkin seeds to your diet with this recipe for The Perfect Salmon Rye Crackers.

3. Avocado

While health and diet trends come and go, avocado is one food that seems to stick around and for good reason! Avocados are rich in healthy monounsaturated fats, which are essential for our nervous systems to function. Our brains are made up of around 60% fat so consuming healthy fats such as avocado is essential to support brain function, aid the production of neurotransmitters and reduce inflammation. Avocados contain energy boosting nutrients such as niacin, pantothenic acid, folate and vitamin C.

Nurish your body with avocado by adding this recipe for Teriyaki Salmon Nourish Bowl to your menu.

4. Quinoa

Quinoa is packed with fibre and contains higher amounts of protein, compared to most grains. This means it can help keep blood sugar levels stable, which is key when it comes to fostering a happier mood. Stable blood sugar levels can help to control appetite and reduce cravings for sugary and fatty snacks between meals.

Recipe featuring quinoa: Huon Gin & Kaffir Lime Cured Salmon Breakfast Bowl.

5. Chickpeas

Chickpeas are another good source of the amino acid tryptophan. Tryptophan is converted in the body into serotonin, as mentioned earlier, which is brain chemical that can improve mood and feelings of relaxation. If tryptophan levels in the body are very low or depleted, the levels of serotonin in the brain drop, which can lead to low mood and irritability.

Snack on Chickpeas with this recipe for Paprika Roasted Chickpeas.

6. Yoghurt

All yoghurt is rich in protein; however Greek Yoghurt is particularly high, which means adding it to meals or enjoying it as a snack can be a great way to satisfy hunger and stabilize blood sugar levels throughout the day. Yoghurt is also rich in probiotics, which is essential for optimal gut functioning and mood enhancing benefits.

Boost your mood with this recipe for Baked Salmon In Spiced Yoghurt.

This article was written for Huon Salmon by The Biting Truth, a team of Accredited Practising Dietitians who are passionate about sharing evidence based nutrition. You can find them on Instagram and Facebook sharing daily posts about nutrition and delicious recipes.

In this time of great uncertainty it is important to #supportlocalbusinesses whenever possible. Keep buying Huon Salmon from your local Fishmonger, Independent Grocer or Takeaway store!