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The "Happiness Diet": how eating these foods can affect your mood

 

The new book "The Brain Boost Diet Plan" uses proven links between diet, brain function and mood to get you feeling great again! 

 

Food as medicine is not a new concept, but in her new book London nutritional therapist Christine Bailey explains exactly how we can change our diet to improve our mood, combat depression and live a happier, healthier life. 

Here, we break down 6 key pieces of dietary advice from her book: 

Avoid processed foods

Blood sugar imbalances suck, and can lead to extreme highs and lows in mood. One way to avoid throwing your blood sugar levels out of whack is to avoid processed foods altogether. This means ruling out refined sugary carbohydrates, white starch, fruit juices or sugary smoothies.

Don't be afraid of fats

Did you know that about 60% of your brain is actually fat? Fat is important, and if you restrict your intake of certain fats (phospholipids and omega 3 especially) your mood and concentration will be affected.  So reach for the extra-virgin olive oil, coconut oil and oily fish if you want to stay happy. 

Watch your magnesium levels

Magnesium has a powerful relaxing effect on the body, and it's essential to help you sleep well and combat anxiety and stress. We need about 300-400 mg of magnesium daily, most of which we absorb through food, so up your intake of magnesium-rich foods (spinach, chard, yogurt, pumpkin seeds, almonds, black beans) to stay on the level. 

Include fermented foods

Your gut is like your second brain and can have a huge impact on your mood (ever wonder why there are so many expressions like "gut feeling"?) so it makes sense to look after it. Maintaining a healthy gut flora is essential to happiness. Including fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha and miso in your diet is key. 

drink green tea

You'd have to have been living under a rock for decades to not know that green tea is fantastic for you. It's a potent mix of antioxidants to protect and nurture the brain and body, as well as L theanine which has been shown to improve concentration and lower stress levels. Drink up! 

Eat lots of Vitamin D

There is a reason you feel better on a sunny day: thanks to the sun's rays, your skin is producing lots of delicious Vitamin D, which is closely linked to mood. It's tricky to get enough vitamin D through food alone, but mushrooms, liver, egg yolks, full-fat dairy and oily fish all contain it. 

Want more? You can buy the book here

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