Need a little more zip to your day? The right foods can turbo charge your day, especially if you start it right with an energizing breakfast!
- Water: Don't neglect your water – water is essential for all bodily functions, and especially in the conversion of food into energy. Drink water first thing in the morning to start your day right.
- Nut butter: Opt for organic, no-sugar and low salt nut butters – almond, cashew or peanut – for your breakfast spread. They contain mood elevating nutrients such as magnesium (which helps make the conversion of energy in your body more efficient) protein (to help you regulate your blood sugar) and potassium (a ‘muscle food'). The monounsaturated oils not only lower cholesterol but help make a satisfying meal.
- Wholegrain cereal: Wholegrains contain folic acid, which helps maintain serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is a hormone triggers feelings of happiness and relaxation. Meanwhile, the fibre keeps a steady stream of glucose fed into your bloodstream for a constant flow of energy.
Good mood foods
Feeling tense, stressed or wrung out? Try these tasty treats to help bring you out of that rut.
- Brazil nuts: These creamy nuts are high in selenium, a mineral that maintains moods and prevents depression. As little as six Brazil nuts can give you the recommended daily dose of selenium. Other foods high in selenium include sunflower seeds and bran.
- Avocado: Avocados are rich in monosaturated fats that make your brain receptors more sensitive to serotonin. Also, the good fats in avocados can help lower blood pressure is eaten regularly!
- Oranges: Not only does the fresh smell and colour add a little literal zest you your day, the folic acid in fresh oranges and fresh orange juice can help elevate your mood. Vitamin C found in oranges also reduce cortisol – a stress hormone.
- Chocolate: As if you needed any more reason to enjoy your chocolate, the good news is that a little cocoa treat can trigger happy hormones such as serotonin and endorphin. The caffeine also imparts an energy boost and helps produce a mellow, euphoric feeling.
Can't sleep? While the last thing you want to do is have a big meal before bed, a small snack can help aid sleep. Ideally, have these natural sleep remedies on an empty stomach to get the most benefit.
- Milk: Whey, the protein found in milk can decrease feelings of anxiety and frustration. Milk is also high tryptophan, protein that can trigger the production of seratonions. If you find it hard to wind down before bed, have a glass of milk – ideally warm milk – as a nightcap.
- Fresh or unsweetened dried cherries: Cherries are the only foods that contain melatonin, the biochemical that regulates the body's sleep clock. Eat some an hour or so before bedtime.
- Miso soup: the protein in miso may boost the production of melatonin to increase feelings of sleepiness.
- Oatmeal: The complex carbohydrates in oatmeal trigger the release of serotonin, a relaxing hormone. Make a little oatmeal with milk and instead of sugar, include a banana instead – it contains sleep-triggering tryptophan as well as magnesium and potassium, which relax tired muscles.
It may sound surprising, but brain cells use twice the amount of energy as other cells in the body! It needs to be fed with a steady flow if glucose and protected with good oils. Boost your brain power with these foods.
- Salmon: The omega-3 fatty acids in salmon contain DHA, a fatty acid that is crucial for the development and protection of the nerve fibres in the brain. Salmon is also high in iodine, which can improve mental clarity.
- Eggs: Eggs not only contain a wealth of essential nutrients – they are also high in choline. Choline aids brain function, thinking capacity and memory. Studies indicated that people who eat eggs regularly have better memory and recall compared with people who do not.