Emotional Balance: Eat Them Blues Away
Whether you believe in Blue Monday or not, whether you are affected by it or not, feeding yourself (and your emotional balance) is still a necessity.
I’m a strong believer in proper nutrition and in the positive impact eating the right foods has on supporting the optimum functioning of your body and in keeping emotions in balance.
Of course, I’m not expecting you to believe me and I’m always up for a challenge. So how about you give these ingredients a go? And since we are talking about expectations, it might be a good idea to set yours correctly as well.
Tap into your curiosity and expect to feel better. How? Well, the ingredients work from inside out.
But you can help enhance their impact by consciously choosing to make the process of preparing them fun and to savour each bite like your mood depends on it. Pun intended, of course!
9 Ingredients For Emotional Balance
Here are some ingredients you can play around to create a menu for a whole week, should you choose to explore further than one day how beneficial they actually are.
Due to their low glycemic index GI), they are an effective mood enhancer by slowly releasing energy into the bloodstream, regulating blood sugar and stabilising the mood. They also contain the mood-boosting mineral selenium, an important supplement for a healthy thyroid.
How much do you need? Half a cup of porridge is a great way to start the day. Add a spoonful of honey and nuts for added protein. Alternatively, add a banana, another mood booster. Have it as a breakfast meal or in the afternoon as a smoothie to give you that extra spark when starting to feel tired.
They have the wonderful ability to raise serotonin levels, aka the happiness hormone, which is responsible for our moods. A bundle of amino acids, vitamins A, B6 and C, fibres, potassium, phosphorous, iron and carbohydrate, bananas also aid sleep. We all know how much brighter the world is after a good nights’ sleep, don’t we?
How much do you need? Eat a medium-sized banana as a mid-morning snack each day or slice it into porridge in the morning. Why not add a bit of dark chocolate to that for the extra kick?
3. Dark chocolate
It triggers the brain to release endorphins and sparks serotonin levels. The beauty of it is that a small square does the trick, so poses no threat to your diet, should you be on one after indulging too much during the holidays. Don’t believe me? Plenty of research data online to prove that chocolate eaters produced less stress hormones, hence experience lower anxiety levels.
How much do you need? Shred 3 squares in your morning oats or eat a couple small dark squares as a snack. You could mix it with some Brazil nuts too.
4. Brazil nuts
They are a daily must because they are one of the best sources of selenium. Keeping the selenium levels at their optimum, prevents feeling tired, irritated, anxious, which could easily lead to depression.
How much do you need? Three Brazil nuts a day provide all the selenium you need. Have them as a mid-morning snack with a banana, as an afternoon snack coated in some dark chocolate, or sprinkle them chopped on salads or a stir-fry.
It is a great source of B vitamins and folate, which have a positive impact on serotonin production, hence important mood boosters. Eating leafy green vegetables such as spinach help keep your levels up and lower the risk of feeling blue. Not a big fan of spinach, there’s always broccoli.
How much do you need? A cup of cooked spinach provides nearly 30% of your RDA of a few B vitamins, so add it to stir-fry and soups, or make a raw spinach salad for lunch. Why not add some salmon, chicken or turkey for variety?
6. Chicken and turkey breast
These are a healthy option should you prefer taking your omega 3 in the form of a supplement, rather than eating fish. Lean poultry increases amino acid tryptophan intake, which the body uses to produce serotonin. It also helps make the hormone melatonin, which regulates sleep. Another amino acid found in poultry is called tyrosine known to aid reduce symptoms of depression and help avoid feeling blue in the first place.
How much do you need? There’s no such thing as chicken and turkey overdose, so have them a few times a week in soups, sandwiches or on their own with vegetables and/or lentils.
7. Salmon, mackerel and sardines
All these are full of omega 3 and eating them regularly keeps your brain healthy and improves your mood by keeping brain cells flexible and the neurotransmitters working more effectively. Omega 3 fatty acids levels are very important for our overall well-being, including our moods, as 30% of our brain tissue is in the form of omega 3.
How much do you need? At least one serving (140g) a week. Try smoked salmon on bread for a brain-boosting breakfast, added to a salad for lunch or make it a main for dinner.
Like bananas, lentils help increase the brain’s production of serotonin, resulting in a calmer, happier state of mind with less anxiety. What makes them even greater, is the fact that they also help stabilise blood sugar levels, keeping your mood even. To really make them a champion ingredient, lentils can help boost your iron levels, which give a nice spark of energy.
How much do you need? Add half a cup of lentils in homemade soups or stews. Alternatively, you can mix them with almost everything on this list to create really yummy and health boosting salads.
Last on our list but definitely not the least, water is extremely important for our bodies to function properly. Even the smallest degree of water loss can negatively impact our physical and mental wellbeing. Being dehydrated can really affect our ability to concentrate, lead to headaches and even feeling short tempered, irritated and anxious.
How much do you need? Start the day with a mug of freshly boiled water and a slice of lemon, or add a fresh sprig of mint, cucumber or strawberries to a jug of cold water to jazz it up. A couple of herbal teas on top of that and you’ve most probably reached the recommended dosage of 2 litres a day.
Extra Notes For Emotional Balance
- Choose to make meal time a fun one so that you can look forward to it.
- To make your life easier and the process more exciting, why not pick each week a few ingredients and explore how many recipes you can come up with.
- Start today, it’s Monday and you can eat them blues away …
SparkYourBloom Today and Everyday!