Trying to quit can be pretty depressing and it’s tempting to reach for comfort food to try to lift your mood; then you pile weight on, feel even more miserable and reach for the fags to cheer yourself up. It’s a vicious circle. But did you know that there are foods which actually make you feel happier; without compromising your health?
Here, in no particular order, are 10 feel-good foods that are not only a natural anti-depressant, but they taste pretty good too!
Mussels contain generous quantities of vitamin B12; iodine, zinc and selenium, a great source of protein. Vitamin 12 is brain food helping to keep your little grey cells in tip top condition. Iodine, zinc and selenium are all very important for thyroid health which helps regulate your weight and mood.
These humble shell fish are not only extremely tasty but are very low in calories and fat too – what’s not to like?
2. Dark chocolate
Those who don’t like mussels will be delighted to see dark chocolate on the list. The magical confectionary helps to improve blood supply to the brain and provides an instantaneous mood lift and improvement in concentration levels. Unfortunately, you only need a very small amount of dark chocolate to feel the benefits and it is only the high cocoa content variety that counts, not milk or white.
Asparagus is a real superfood. It contains folate and tryptophan in relatively high levels. Tryptophan is utilized by the brain to make serotonin, one of the chemicals responsible for stabilizing mood. Insufficient serotonin is a major cause of clinical depression and low levels of folate have also been linked to cases of depression.
4. Swiss chard
Whilst on the subject of vegetables, another great one to tuck into is Swiss chard. Swiss chard is a leafy green vegetable packed with magnesium, an important chemical component in energy production. Low levels of magnesium have also been associated with depression. So, take note of what your mother told you when you were a child and make sure you eat your greens!
5. Blue potatoes
These are an unusual member of the spud family and not that widely available although you do see them at farmers’ markets. They’re worth tracking down though as they contain good levels of anthocyanins which actively reduce inflammation in the brain; a condition associated with depression. If you eat the skins too, the iodine they contain helps keep your thyroid function healthy.
6. Organic honey
Honey is not only delicious but it also contains kaempferol and quercetin. These two chemicals reduce brain inflammation and thus help to prevent depression. Honey is much better for your health than refined sugar; let’s face it, what isn’t!
7. Fresh strawberries
Strawberries contain vitamin C and potassium in relatively large amounts. This helps with the production of endorphins, the absorption of iron and nerve function. Anthocyanidin and pecargonidin give the fruit its red colouration and is recognised as a mood booster.
Tomatoes contain lycopene, an antioxidant which is good for brain health and reduces inflammation and thus fights off depression.
It’s the coconut flesh that’s the good stuff. It contains medium-chain triglycerides; fats that promote good brain health and consequently happy mood.
Eggs are a brilliant breakfast food. They contain good amounts of zinc, iodine, omega-3 fatty acids, protein and vitamin B; keep you feeling satisfied till lunchtime and are also a great source of energy.