Try to eat two or more of these natural happiness enhancers every day…
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Why? It’s rich in iron: a great energy booster that wards off fatigue and aids concentration. It’s also a good source of vitamin B6 and folate, which support the brain’s ability to produce mood-boosting neurotransmitters, such as serotonin.
2. Sweet potatoes
Why? They’re a great alternative to standard spuds as they are rich in folate, plus they are better than white potatoes at keeping blood sugar levels steady.
3. Brazil nuts
Why? They’re one of the best sources of the mood-boosting mineral selenium, which can ward off low mood and anxiety.
4. Oily fish
Why? Fish such as sardines and mackerel are rich in omega-3 fatty acids which help the brain to interpret moods and boost concentration levels. Low levels are linked with depression and other mood disorders.
Why? They’re bursting with depression-fighting folate, mood-lifting tryptophan and stress relieving vitamin B6.
Why? They’re a great source of zinc, which helps you to feel more alert and energised by regulating your metabolism and blood sugar levels.
Why ? It’s rich in calcium, a mineral which can ease mood swings, depression and anxiety.
Why? It’s rich in protein, which increases energy levels and improves concentration. It also contains an amino acid called tyrosine, which boosts the brain chemicals norepinephrine and dopamine as well as thyroid hormone, which can all help elevate mood.
Why? They can balance hunger and mood between meal energy slumps as they help to stabilise blood sugar levels. The fruit’s high vitamin B6 content can help to relive anxiety and stress, and it’s also a great source of tryptophan – the essential amino acid the brain converts into happiness hormone serotonin.
Why? Your daily slice boosts levels of serotonin – a neurotransmitter that helps you feel happier and calmer. Wholemeal bread produces less serotonin than white but the energy it produces has more staying power, so you will avoid the slump you can experience soon after eating white bread.
Your happy 5-day meal plan
• Banana smoothie, two oatcakes topped with peanut butter
• Boiled eggs with granary soldiers drizzled with olive oil
• Omelette with grilled tomatoes, peppers and mushrooms
• Greek yoghurt with mixed winter berries and chopped nuts
• Scrambled egg and smoked salmon slivers on wholemeal toast
• Avocado and prawn salad sandwich with granary bread
• Grilled chicken with salad greens
• Veggie chilli served with sweet jacket potato
• Sardines on granary toast
• A pot of smoked mackerel pate with wholemeal pitta, celery and carrot sticks to dip
• Salmon poached with spinach and green beans
• Grilled pork chops served with oven-roasted tomatoes and cannellini beans drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar
• Chicken filled with mozzarella cheese and wrapped in parma ham served with mixed broccoli and sweet potato mash
• Cod served with grilled cherry tomatoes and brown basmati rice
• Lean grilled steak with oven roasted mixed veg
• Handful of Brazil nuts or almonds
• Oatcakes with mashed avocado
• Dried apricots