The colder months bring with them a number of things – on the upside, cosy jumpers and warm hot chocolate by the fire. But on the downside, darker nights and chilly temperatures can put a real dampener on our moods. So what can you do to boost your mood and feel more positive and energised?
Young’s Seafood believes the answer sits right on your plate, and has teamed up with UK leading nutritionist Sarah Flower to offer top tips on the right nutrients in your diet to help boost your mood. Young’s Seafood has also developed a range of delicious new recipes to help you incorporate some mood-lifting foods into your diet to boost your mood.
Sarah says: “Our lives have become increasingly busy, stressful and hectic. Introducing the right nutrients into our diet can really help boost our mood and relax us, so there’s a few things we can look at adding to our diet to achieve this.”
Sadly, we are not eating as much of this wonderful food as we should. There are three types of omega-3 fatty acids: alpha linolenic acid (ALA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). ALA is found in plants, such as flaxseeds, chia seeds and nuts, but it is quite hard for the body to convert it for use, especially because our diets tend to be higher in omega-6 fats, which negatively affect the process.
It is generally advised, therefore, that we get our essential omega-3 fats from EPA and DHA which are found in oily fish. Omega 3 fish oils are known to both relieve stress and anxiety, help lift your mood and to regulate inflammation, as well as a whole host of other amazing health benefits. Studies have found high levels of EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid) and DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) boosts the mood.
Foods to Increase: Fill up on fish, such as kippers, salmon and cod, which are rich in omega 3 and sources of protein. You can also get omega 3 from nuts and seeds, especially flaxseeds, chia seeds and walnuts.
Enjoy a sumptuous fish dish with Young’s Kipper Fillets, Poached Egg and Spinach.
B Vitamins are recommended at times where you have low mood, stress and anxiety, as well as low energy. There are various types which help produce and increase serotonin, known as the “happy chemical” often because it can contribute to wellbeing and happiness – including folic acid, B6 and B5.
B6 (pyridoxine) is also an essential B vitamin to increase melatonin and norepinephrine – other feel-good neurotransmitters. Low B12, as well as B12 deficiency is quite common in the UK and can lead to mood changes, fatigue and low energy.
Foods to Increase: Fill up on meat, nuts, wholegrains, yeast extract, eggs, wheat germ, brown rice and fortified cereals. B12 often comes from sources such as red meat, but you can also find B12 in fish such as cod and salmon.
Cook up a family favourite with a super easy Young’s Cod in Butter Sauce Fish Pie.
Vitamin C is the first thing we think of when we get a cold or feel under the weather, but it has many roles in our body. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, it is needed for utilisation of iron and is essential for the formation of collagen, as well as improving cardiovascular health.
It is also essential in the process of combining neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline – so if vitamin C is low, it will affect our mood. Cooking can also destroy vitamin C, so it is important to try to get some raw sources into your diet every day.
Foods to Increase: Eat more fruit such as berries, especially strawberries, citrus fruits, cherries, green leafy vegetables, peppers and melons.
Try some leafy greens with Young’s Wholetail Scampi Caesar Salad.
Whether it’s going for a short walk in your lunch break or a run in your local park before or after work, getting outside and moving can help to boost your mood and reduce stress – particularly as this helps top up your Vitamin D from sunlight exposure. However, this can be tricky as it gets darker earlier during the winter, so a daily dose of Vitamin D3 is recommended.
When you are stressed and anxious, you produce more cortisol and other glucocorticoids which can prevent Vitamin D receptors from taking up vitamin D, meaning we can be depleted. Vitamin D deficiency affects many functions within our body, but is also linked to seasonal affective disorder.
Foods to Increase: Fill up on oily fish, eggs and mushrooms, but you can also get foods fortified with vitamin D.
Those who suffer from low mood, anxiety, depression, PMS and migraines are usually shown to be deficient in magnesium. Magnesium is known as the “anti-stress mineral” due to its amazing effects on the nervous system.
We are becoming increasingly deficient in this nutrient due to our highly processed western diet as well as our over farmed soils. Magnesium can also be depleted when we have high alcohol or caffeine consumption, displaced by some medications such as antibiotics, antacids and contraceptive pill, when we consume too much calcium, and generally through ageing and ill health.
Cooking, such as boiling vegetables, can cause magnesium to leach out, so I would recommending steaming or stir-frying, which has less detrimental impact on the mineral and nutrient content of the food.
Foods to Increase: Fill up on kelp, wheat bran, almonds, brewer’s yeast, buckwheat, brazil nuts, cashews and molasses. You will also find lower levels in green leafy vegetables, peanuts, millet, rye, tofu, walnuts, pecan nuts, coconut, brown rice, figs, dried fruit, avocado and hard cheese. Dark chocolate, at least 85% cocoa content, is packed with antioxidants as well as iron and magnesium. It aids the production of endorphins creating the feel-good feeling and boosting your energy.
Fill your kitchen with fragrant coconut aromas by pairing Young’s Pacific Salmon Fillets with homemade Coconut and Coriander Jasmine Rice.
There are a range of spices that can help increase the mood, which you can add to your favourite recipes.
Foods to Increase: Incorporate these spices into your daily recipes. You can also make Tea from turmeric and ginger.
Spice up your midweek meals with Sweet Chilli Marinated Basa Fillets with Jasmine Rice, Carrot & Courgette or a kick of ginger with Chip Shop Cod and Katsu Curry Sauce.
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