Food for moods

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By Beatrice Nakibuuka

When motivation and energy are lacking, you may find foods such as fast foods, carbonated drinks appealing. Unfortunately, Amanda Tumwebaze, a nutritionist says a diet rich in processed foods with added salt, sugars and fats may lead to poor mental health and aggravate symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Choosing healthy foods may help you feel well and happy. A balanced wholesome diet may help to prevent and improve symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Bananas
Bananas contain the amino acid tryptophan as well as vitamins A, B6 and C, fibre, potassium, phosphorous, iron and carbohydrate.
She says, “Mood-boosting carbohydrates aid in the absorption of tryptophan in the brain, while vitamin B6 helps convert the tryptophan into the mood-lifting hormone serotonin. This helps to boost your mood and also aids sleep.”

Fish
If you have a bad mood, fish is a good way to add omega-3 fatty acids to your meals. These fats are good mood stabilisers that play a role in your mental well-being.
Eating plant foods rich in omega-3s including cauliflower, sesame seeds, red kidney beans and broccoli can also be helpful.

Green Tea
Since it contains a number of mood-boosting nutrients, including L-theanine, an amino acid found in the green tea leaves that helps fight anxiety, green tea can be very useful in boosting your moods.

Tumwebaze says, “If you are having a bad day, sipping a cup of green tea can help soothe your senses, calm your nerves and brighten a dark mood. Taking green tea more frequently can bring about reduced depression symptoms in elderly people.”

Vegetables
You may be moody because you do not get enough magnesium, a mineral that, among other things, helps reduce anxiety.

Dark leafy greens such as spinach and Swiss chard are loaded with the mineral. Eating plenty of vegetables daily can help boost your brain health. More good sources of magnesium include beans and lentils, almonds and avocados.

Caution
There are some foods that ruin your mood and these may include caffeinated drinks that increase your risk of getting headaches.
Although alcohol can briefly produce a pleasant and relaxed state of mind, drinking too much makes you feel irritable, moody and anxious the following day.

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