It's thought that winter blues affects around 2 million people in the UK, and the shorter days and darker nights of the winter months can amplify this deflated mood. In turn, you may crave comfort foods, have less energy to exercise and lack interest in your usual hobbies. Here are six superfoods packed with nutrients that directly boost your mood, and each of our oat bowls and smoothies that include them. Read on.
Nuts are loaded with vital minerals that support mental health function including copper, selenium, magnesium, manganese, and zinc. They are also one of the richest dietary sources of serotonin, a chemical in your brain that helps one stay calm and happy. One study gave 64 students walnut bread or walnut placebo bread for six weeks, and their research discovered that the mood improved by almost 28% in those who ate the walnut version!
HOW TO USE: Walnuts can be used in a wide variety of dishes, from a little sprinkle on top of salads, through to being chopped up and swirled into scones/muffins/bread.
Check out our recipes packed with WALNUTS:
Bananas contain tryptophan, a protein that your body converts into mood-lifting serotonin to combat depression and anxiety. They also contain a bunch of vitamins, like B6 which has been shown to boost your mood naturally and even relieve symptoms of PMS. Slice of banana cake anyone?
HOW TO USE: Straight out the skin! No but seriously, in addition to enjoying the fruit in its simplest form, you can also chop up banana and add it to smoothies, desserts, cereals and more.
Check out our recipes packed with BANANA:
Cacao contains several antioxidants, such as polyphenols which are known to reduce depression and/or anxiety. This is the chemical that produces the “falling in love” feeling and is a natural antidepressant that works in conjunction with the dopamine in your brain.
HOW TO USE: Cacao can add a chocolatey taste to many of your favourite foods, from smoothies through to yoghurt, and even baked goods! Like hot chocolate? We'd recommend grabbing a mug, pouring some boiling water in with one teaspoon of cacao and a dash of almond milk, and voila, you have a mood-boosting hot chocolate!
Check out our recipes packed with CACAO:
Camu Camu is a sour berry native of the Amazon. It has the highest Vitamin C content of any plant in the world (60 times more than oranges!) which can boost the immune system and protect the body from many diseases and stress. Camu also contains potent antioxidants making it a true beauty-boosting food.
HOW TO USE: Camu camu powder can be quite sour, so to combat this it's best added to other foods to compliment this and it can be easily added to smoothies, oats, muesli, yogurts, and salad dressings. Our top tip is to always add it to food AFTER cooking to prevent the loss of nutrients from heat such as vitamin C.
Check out our recipes packed with CAMU CAMU:
Sipping matcha can provide you with a pick me up that is less jittery than the one your beloved coffee can give! Why? Because Matcha contains a high concentration of flavonoids and L-theanine which increase the brains alpha frequency, thus raising serotonin, GABA, and dopamine levels (aka it produces relaxation effects!)
HOW TO USE: A teaspoon or a sprinkle (dependent on personal taste) of matcha can be added to your cup of tea, coffee or even a smoothie. For a non-liquid use of Matcha, it can even be added to desserts like chocolate cake!
Check out our recipes packed with MATCHA:
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