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Good Mood Food

Clares Jones beats January blues with good mood food...and so can you

Written by . Published on January 6th 2012.

Good Mood Food

WITH the coloured lights being switched off and baubles put away for another year, January can seem a bit of a bleak prospect.

There is some evidence for using food to support our mood and making positive changes to our diet may not only help us feel better physically but also emotionally.

Back to work in the cold and dark without the likelihood of much let up before April: it's definitely not the best time to start a depressing, restrictive diet, despite the excesses of the previous weeks. So are there foods we can be eating that may help to lift our moods a little? Can what we eat really influence how we feel?

The good news is that there is some evidence for using food to support our mood and making positive changes to our diet may not only help us feel better physically but also emotionally.  Not only that, but by simply taking control of what you’re eating and introducing healthy changes, you may start to feel more in control of your life.

What to avoid:

- Caffeine in chocolate, coffee, tea, cola and other soft drinks may increase feelings of anxiety and nervousness and is sometimes linked to panic attacks. Switch to herbal teas, redbush tea (rooiboos) or warm water - you can add a slice of lemon or fresh ginger to liven it up!

Avoid CaffeineAvoid Caffeine

- Artificial food additives, especially colours such as sunset yellow FCF (E110), quinoline yellow (E104), carmoisine (E122), allura red (E129), tartrazine (E102), and ponceau 4R (E124), which a Food Standards Agency report has linked to hyperactivity in children. Also watch out for monosodium glutamate, which has been linked to depression in some people, and sweeteners such as aspartame, which may trigger symptoms such as anxiety, aggression and insomnia.

- Sugar and sugary foods and snacks, which can disrupt blood sugar and energy levels, contributing to poor concentration, irritability and low mood.

    What to include:

    - Breakfast! Get the day off to a good start by making time for a healthy breakfast - something warm, such as porridge, a boiled egg or wholemeal toast with peanut butter, are all good choices for a cold morning. Eating breakfast helps to keep energy levels up during the morning and avoid the slumps that contribute to low mood.

    -Protein - such as lean meat, fish, eggs, pulses, nuts and seeds. Brain chemicals called neurotransmitters are derived from protein and protein also helps to keep blood sugar levels steady. Try snacking mid-morning and mid-afternoon on a piece of fruit and a small handful of nuts.

    Include Lean Meat, Fish, Eggs, Pulses, Nuts And SeedsInclude Lean Meat, Fish, Eggs, Pulses, Nuts And Seeds

    - Good fats - that is, omega 3 and omega 6 fats found in oily fish, nuts and seeds. A large part of the brain is made up of fat and there have been many studies into the links between brain function and dietary fat intake. It's no surprise to me that low-fat diets make people feel depressed. Try salmon, mackerel, sardines or herrings two or three times a week.

    - Brightly coloured fruit and vegetables - include at least five a day - eg. add blueberries to your porridge, snack on an apple or carrot sticks (plus a handful of nuts, see above), have salad with your lunch and 2 portions of vegetables with your evening meal. Not only do they literally brighten up your plate by adding colour and interesting shapes, they also contain a rich array of vitamins and minerals (and the greater the variety of fruit and veg, the wider the range of nutrients), which support the metabolism of fats and proteins (see above) and the regulation of energy levels.

    Include 'Brain Food'Include 'Brain Food'

      - Finally, take advantage of the January sales. Buy yourself a waterproof coat and a pair of wellies and make sure you take a walk outdoors, ideally every day and preferably somewhere with a little greenery. Research has shown that even five minutes exercise outdoors can have a significant impact on mood and wellbeing and it's especially in these grey, dark days...

      Take A WalkTake A Walk

      The advice given here is not intended to replace medical advice. Always consult your GP if you are concerned about your health.

      Clare Jones, BA(Hons), Dip ION, mBANT NTC & CNHC registered
      Nutritional Therapy 07985 166606.

      If you would like to make an appointment for a personal nutrition consultation with Clare, please contact her on the above number or visit Clare’s website: www.clarejones-nutrition.co.uk

      Follow Clare on Twitter @ClareJonesNutri and Facebook www.facebook.com/ClareJonesNutritionalTherapy

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      JasonJanuary 11th 2012.

      Nice. Such an interesting and useful feature. I'd never heard this stuff before. What a shame all the other supermarket magazines aren't printing this stuff, especially in January. Great to see Liverpool Confidential on the ball, getting a fascinating Manchester nutritionist to tell us about coffee and Omega 3 (which, incidentally, if you've ever read Bad Science, you might have a different take on it. And on 'nutritionists') . But then I don't suppose it's your job to question stuff if you're getting paid-for content?
      Keep up the good work, this city needs you.

      AnonymousApril 26th 2014.

      Another great post, I appreciate all the work you put into this site, helping out others with your fun and creative works.

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