Change your food to boost your mood

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Chocolate, coffee and bananas are among the foods most likely to put you in a good mood, according to Brits.

A study of 2,000 adults found that while delicious sugary snacks feature in the top 20, nuts and seeds, berries and fish are also among the foods thought to give you a boost.

More than four in 10 have noticed how food affects their mood over the last few weeks, with 62 per cent citing it as one of the main things they choose to keep their spirits up durig the Covid-19 lockdown.

Chocolate – milk and dark – has been named the food most likely to improve your mood, followed by coffee, ice cream, chocolate biscuits and cake.

Bananas, a cup of tea, berries and pizza completed the top 10.

The study, by Yakult, also found Brits are most likely to reach for a mood-boosting snack around mid-afternoon – to keep them going until the end of the day.

Dietician Dr Megan Rossi, speaking on behalf of Yakult, said: “While understandably at this time it may seem challenging, finding ways to keep our spirits up is important for our overall health.

“There is a growing body of evidence suggesting that well-fed gut bacteria can positively impact our mood, thanks to the gut-brain axis – the two-way communication that occurs between our gut and brain.

“While many of us seem to be turning to milk chocolate as the top choice for boosting our mood, dark chocolate contains around 8 to 10g of fibre per 100g – making it high fibre, which is essentially food for our gut microbes, linked with better mental health.

“Omega-3, found in oily fish such as salmon and in plant sources like walnuts and flaxseed, has also been linked with improvement in mood disorders. Studies show a Mediterranean diet very high in fibre, extra virgin olive oil as well as good sources of omega-3 is effective in improving depression scores.

“So, although oily fish and walnuts don’t appear to be our go-to foods for a mood-boost based on the research, they are certainly worth a thought next time people are picking up their groceries.”

Food is an essential part of our daily life and it is perhaps more important than ever to make sure it contributes to our overall wellbeing.

With so many of us now spending longer than usual indoors, we can take comfort in knowing that we are still able to get the vitamins and minerals we need from foods.

It’s a great idea to load up on a variety of plant-based foods. Try to aim for 30 different types a week, across fruit, vegetables, wholegrains, legumes, nuts and seeds.

Dabbling in fermented foods like pickles, kimchi and sauerkraut are also said to be mood-boosting foods.

Alongside careful selection of foods, try to de-stress with mindfulness. Try doing just 10 minutes a day of meditation or using a mindfulness app. Studies show a difference in 12 weeks.

Get quality sleep. Feeling tired can have a big influence and improving sleep quality can boost your mood. Busy mind? Try jotting down any worries in a diary and unplugging from all forms of media at least two hours before bed.

TOP 20 FOODS BRITS THINK HAVE THE BIGGEST IMPACT ON IMPROVING THEIR MOOD

1. Milk chocolate

2. Dark chocolate

3. Coffee

4. Ice cream

5. Chocolate biscuits

6. Cake

7. Bananas

8. Tea

9. Berries

10. Pizza

11. Beer/cider

12. Red wine

13. Chips

14. Cheese

15. Sweets

16. Nuts & Seeds

17. Oily fish (e.g. salmon)

18. Bacon

19. Crisps and savory snacks

20. Biscuits

 

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