Did you know that feeling stressed, depressed, tired or anxious may have something to do with the foods we eat? Introduce these foods to your diet and see if you notice the difference.
Whilst it has long been accepted that stress and anxiety can trigger gut related disorders such as IBS, it is now being considered that this could work the other way round. New studies show that what goes on in our gut can have far reaching effects on our state of mind. So which foods can help us beat stress, boost our mood and get a good night sleep?
Enter our competition of the end of this article for your chance to win a mood boosting hamper...
1. Pumpkin seeds
Pumpkin seeds contain the sleep inducing, mood enhancing phyto-nutrient L-tryptophan, and are also rich in zinc which helps the body use this important phyto-nutrient. L-tryptophan is essential in making serotonin which governs the mood and melatonin which governs sleep. Including pumpkin seeds in your diet makes sense and they can be eaten raw or roasted and scattered over salads, enjoyed as Pumpkin seed butter, or packed into a flapjack. Daily serving of pumpkin seeds: 1-2 tablespoons per day.
2. Flax seeds
Flax seeds are rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids and this nutrient is so important in helping us manage our moods, as omega-3 fats reduce brain inflammation, build brain cells and are thought to improve mood and memory. Flax seeds can easily be sprinkled on breakfast, in smoothies or on salads. They can also be soaked in water and the gelatinous liquid can be used to replace eggs in making pastry, cakes, pancakes. Daily serving of flax seeds: 1-2 tablespoons per day
3. Dark chocolate
Dark chocolate is good for you! The cacao bean contains over 300 phyto-nutrients including poly-phenols that trigger those happy relaxed brain chemicals like endorphins, serotonin and dopamine, this explains why we associate chocolate with that feel good feeling. Try eating your chocolate naturally sweetened and free from dairy for a true wellbeing treat. Add some Cacao nibs on top of your yoghurt, porridge or smoothie bowl at brekkie; or blend up Cacao powder with a frozen banana for instant ice-cream. Daily serving of cacao nibs: 30g per day
4. Green tea
Green tea contains a brain relaxing chemical called L-theanine which encourages the production of alpha waves. These are the brain waves we produce when we are relaxed. Research shows that L-theanine induces alert yet relaxed states of mind. However Matcha tea (which is the youngest highest grade leaves of the same plant) contains up to five times as much L-theanine as regular green tea. Both Matcha and Green tea can be consumed throughout the day and even into the evening, unlike other caffeinated drinks. Daily serving: 1-2 cups daily
5. Liquorice root
Liquorice root is known for its distinctive taste but it is also beneficial in combatting stress. It is adaptogenic in its action, which means that it helps the body adapt to extreme circumstances like lack of sleep, exhaustion, over working or over worrying. It works by having a nourishing effect on the adrenal glands which inhibits the release of the hormone responsible for stress – cortisol. The powder can be brewed as a tea or added to smoothies, or use to flavour and fortify any foods. Daily serving: drink 1-2 cups daily
Spirulina provides the complete range of B vitamins which are often depleted in individuals who suffer with anxiety. Containing both vitamin B6 and iron this superfood is ideal for supporting the brain’s function. This blue-green algae not only supplies those B vitamins but it also comes complete with all the essential amino acids that the body needs. These protein building blocks are essential to wellbeing, energy and a balanced mood. The powder can be added to smoothies. Daily serving: 4tsp per day (12g) note: this must be built up slowly as it is detoxifying.
7. Reishi mushroom
Reishi mushroom is revered in Chinese medicine as the tonic to calm the mind, ease tension and strengthen the nervous system. The mushroom is rich in polysaccharides and these phyto-nutrients have an anti-inflammatory effect on the brain. As an adaptogen Reishi supports the body and mind adapt to and recovery from stress. According to recent studies this mushroom is an anti-oxidant that can stimulate activity in brain neurons. As a tonic it is thought to of benefit to the whole body mind system and can be taken at any time. The powder can be brewed into a tea or added to a smoothie or even a soup or sauce. Daily Recommended amount: 1 tsp per day (5g)
Almonds provide a good source of protein, and protein is king when it comes to busting stress. Almonds are a source of folate and magnesium which are also known for reducing tiredness and fatigue. To combat stress its worth basing every meal and snack around protein. Protein is so good at keeping your energy levels and moods more stable; without any of the sugar crashes that a high-carb diet brings. Start as you mean to go on at breakfast with Almond Butter on toast. A handful of Almonds per day will stabilise blood sugar levels, mood swings, beat stress and maintain a healthy heart. Daily serving of Almonds: 28g per day
9. Bee pollen
Bee pollen is a brain booster, this is because it’s rich in B vitamins. B1, B2 and B3 are essential for a healthy nervous system. This gift from the bees can lift brain fatigue, improve alertness and help with concentration levels. B vitamins are often referred to as “anti-stress” or “morale” vitamins and are greatly in need when the nervous system is working overtime. The pollen granules have a sweet malty taste and can be sprinkled over cereals, yogurt, porridge or breakfast fruit bowl. Daily serving: 1 tsp per day (5g)
10. Hemp seeds
Hemp seeds contain essential fatty acids in the ideal ratio to meet our nutritional needs, with a perfect balance of Omega 6 to Omega 3. These healthy fats act like food for the brain. Hemp seeds are nutritional powerhouses containing stress busting magnesium and mood boosting vitamin D. The hulled seeds are soft and make an instant hemp milk when blended with water. The seeds can be sprinkled over salads, soups, stews, and pretty much whatever you have on your plate for a daily brain boost. Daily recommended amount: 30g per day
About Claire Kelly
Claire is a co-founder and director of Indigo Herbs and is passionate about natural health solutions. Following a background as a holistic therapist, Claire brings together a wealth of natural superfood and herbal ingredients with inspiration on how to achieve your optimum health and wellbeing.
Indigo Herbs supplies a broad range of Natural health ingredients including herbs, superfoods, wholefoods and natural botanicals. We are passionate about supporting people on their journey to optimum health and wellbeing. Sourcing the finest quality ingredients from around the globe since 2005 it is Indigo Herbs mission to make good quality, 100% pure, natural health ingredients available and affordable to all. We also publishes a natural health guide, blog and recipe collection as we believe that empowerment is the key to optimum health and that begins with information and inspiration.
WIN a mood boosting hamper from Indigo Herbs!
This super nutritious hamper includes the top 10 foods to boost your mood and assist your body and mind in concentration, feeling good, managing stress, sleeping well and relaxation. Fill up your cupboard with these beneficial herbs and superfoods and achieve your optimum health and wellbeing this summer.
The hamper includes:
- Organic Pumpkin Seeds 250g £3.99
- Organic Flax Seeds 500g £3.49
- Organic Cacao Powder 250g £4.99
- Green Tea Powder 100g £4.99
- Liquorice Root Powder 100g £5.99
- Organic Spirulina Powder 200g £7.49
- Reishi Mushroom Powder 50g £7.99
- Organic Almonds 250g £5.99
- Bee Pollen 100g £3.99
- Organic Shelled Hemp Seeds 100g £3.49
To be in with a chance of winning this amazing prize fill in the form below. Competition closes 9.00am Monday 10th July. UK entries only. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Tags: Healthy eating