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Good Mood Food

It is a well-known fact that what we put into our bodies affects how we feel, both physically and mentally and emotionally. We all turn to food for comfort or whenever we require a little pick-me-up, but what we reach for can significantly impact our mood.

Tempting as it is to give in to the sugary or salty cravings, this only spikes your blood sugar levels temporarily, which then leads to an inevitable crash later on. Opting for wholesome foods that give you a steady release of energy, a sense of fullness, and overall well-being is the way to go; it's time to eat your way to happiness!

Natural forms of nutrition will always yield superior results. Oily fish, particularly salmon and tuna, are very rich in omega-3 fatty acids, something that your body cannot produce on its own. These omega-3s contribute to cognitive function, cell signalling and brain development, meaning you can think clearly! Several clinical trials have shown that regular fatty fish consumption can lower your risk of depression. Always try to source sustainably farmed or wild-caught fish from your local monger for the highest quality in product and practice.

For those who aren’t so keen on things that come from the sea, chia seeds, walnuts and edamame are all excellent substitutes; they are also very high in fibre, protein and magnesium. These three powerhouses ensure a smooth running digestive system, hormonal balance and help your body continuously build and repair with concentrated amino acids. It is another excellent vitamin D source; egg yolks make for a tasty alternative.

For those with a sweet tooth, have no fear - you do not have to deprive yourself! Dark chocolate is full of feel-good properties such as theobromine and N-acylethanolamine. Their roles are to help transmit blood flow to your brain, reduce inflammation and keep your mood regulation in balance, so defer the risk of major highs or manic lows.

Chocolate has a high hedonic rating, meaning it is full of flavour; the intensity of its taste, texture and smell gives a very pleasurable experience. Dark chocolate is higher in cacao and lower in sugar than regular milk or white, but in moderation, you can still enjoy a small piece or two.

Bananas, aka the smiling fruit, have the power to turn a frown upside down. Bananas are a magic amalgamation of natural sugars and fibre that merge and generate a stable flow into your bloodstream, including your precious sugar levels. With an abundance of vitamins, they act as body fuel and combine feel-good transmitters in your brain to produce dopamine and boost serotonin. When these are out of whack, they can cause mood swings, low energy and irritability, so carrying a banana in your bag is like a secret weapon for a sunnier disposition; the monkeys are certainly onto something!

A healthy gut is linked to a healthy mind; your gut and brain constantly communicate, so introducing fermented foods into your diet can dramatically impact how you feel. Our gut and digestive system are in charge of creating good bacteria, absorbing nutrients from your food, and maintaining equilibrium in your body that boosters your immune system to fight off anything from the common cold to microbiome diseases like IBS or Chrons.

Your gut also keeps your cholesterol in check, meaning a healthier heart too. Kimchi, kombucha, kefir yoghurt and sauerkraut are packed with good bacteria that convert sugars into acids that we can then effectively process. Fermented foods also increase your serotonin levels; in fact, your gut is in charge of 90% of your total body’s serotonin, drastically affecting mood, stress responses and appetite. Adding a spoonful of kimchi or sauerkraut to salads is easy and delicious, or mix either kefir or your choice of natural yoghurt with your morning granola for an added pep in your step.

Coffee is often the first thing we consume in the morning or crave during an afternoon slump; this is because caffeine sends signals within your brain to prevent the production of a compound called adenosine that causes tiredness and sluggishness. In contrast, it then generates dopamine and norepinephrine that influence and lift your mood, feelings of alertness and attention span, getting you ready to have a really good day! This physiological release is why coffee is the most popular drink in the world.

However, if you prefer to stay away from caffeine, the Little Wildling Co’s collection of herbal teas is designed to soothe the nervous system and naturally increase our GABA levels. GABA is a neurotransmitter that sends messages to your body to relax and can also help you get to sleep. The Hibernate & Chill and the I Need a Moment are beautiful blends of passion flower, chamomile, lavender and marshmallow root that alleviate stress and put you in a blissful state of mind. Sip away all day for extra hydration, health and happiness!

Opting for wholesome foods that give you a steady release of energy, a sense of fullness, and overall well-being is the way to go; it's time to eat your way to happiness!