Good Mood Food
Good Mood Food
We all know the hallmarks of depression: low mood, lack of motivation, and feelings of hopelessness. Most people experience these as a fleeting reaction to life’s trials and tribulations. The UK survey carried out by the Institute for Optimum Nutrition and involving 37,000 people in Britain found that as many as 1 in 3 people say they sometimes or frequently feel depressed and suffer from low moods.

There is a direct link between mood and blood sugar balance. All carbohydrate foods are broken down into glucose and your brain runs on glucose. The more uneven your blood sugar supply, the more uneven your mood. Sugar has been implicated in aggressive behaviour, anxiety, depression, and fatigue. Lots of refined carbohydrates are linked with depression because these foods not only supply very little in the way of nutrients but also use up mood-enhancing B vitamins.

Stimulants, such as caffeine, alcohol, sugar, and nicotine, will throw your brain chemistry awry. Alcohol in particular acts as a depressant. Food sensitivities will also impact brain chemistry. The brain communicates via chemical neurotransmitters (e.g. dopamine, serotonin, acetylcholine, and GABA). A deficiency or imbalance is likely to have a negative effect on your moods, thoughts, and behaviors.

These neurotransmitters are made from the food we eat. For example, serotonin is made from tryptophan, which is found in chicken, eggs, bananas, dairy, and dates. Dopamine (the brain’s amphetamine) is made from phenylalanine, which is found in grains, eggs, meat, almonds, and soybeans. GABA (the brain’s natural Valium) is made from glutamine and is found in meat and cabbage. A diet that does not take in varied or adequate amounts of these foods will not promote optimal brain functioning in relation to stabilizing mood.

The majority of the brain is made of fat and requires essential fatty acids (EFAs) from your diet to maintain optimal functioning. EFAs help improve mood as they are the main constituent of the neuroreceptors that receive the messages delivered by the neurotransmitters

Nutrition Action Plan 

Make sure you eat protein from beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, fish, eggs, and meat, which are all high in tryptophan, the precursor for serotonin. 

If your motivation is low, ensure you get the amino acids you need from pulses, wheatgerm, yogurt, poultry, almonds, sunflower, and sesame seeds. 

Test your homocysteine levels (doctor or home test). If your level is above 9mmol/l you may want to consider taking a combined homocysteine supplement of B2, B6, B12, folic acid, zinc, and TMG (trimethylglycine). Speak to your doctor or health practitioner first. Ensuring homocysteine stays low means that your brain will methylate well, keeping its chemistry ticking over and in balance. The ideal level is below 6 and the average level is 10. The risk of depression doubles with levels above 15. Also, eat whole foods rich in B vitamins: whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables. Folic acid is particularly abundant in green vegetables, beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds. 

Ensure you are getting enough omega-3s through food and supplementation. Eat a serving of either sardines, mackerel, herring, or wild/organic salmon, three times a week. Very little of the omega-3 fats in flax, pumpkin seeds or walnuts convert into EPA – one of the ‘brain fats’ – so, while these are good to eat, they don’t have the same anti-depressant effect. 

Keep your fuel supply stable. Eat a diet that will stabilise your blood sugar.

In addition to essential fatty acid deficiencies, depression has been linked to B vitamin, magnesium, and zinc deficiencies. See above for foods rich in B vitamins. Zinc-rich foods are fish, crab, oysters, dark meat on poultry, nuts, seeds, and pulses. Magnesium is found in oat bran, nuts, seeds, and green leafy vegetables. 

Dehydration will cause headaches and sufficient water is essential for mood health, so drink plenty of water. 

Reduce alcohol intake. After the initial sugar rush has subsided, it acts as a depressant. It also depletes the body of EFAs and B vitamins (crucial for neurotransmitter production). 

• WARNING: If you are taking prescription anti-depressants, do not take supplements without your doctor’s advice. Do not wean yourself off prescription anti-depressants without the guidance of your doctor. Always seek personal advice from your health practitioner before supplementing any nutrients, including chromium.

Daily good mood food checklist

Eat at least 5 servings of veg and no more than 2 servings of fruit. 

Eat a handful of mixed nuts. 

Eat 1 dessert spoon of mixed seeds. 

Include whole grains in your meals – brown rice, whole oats, quinoa, barley, rye, etc. 

Drink 2 liters of pure, filtered water.

These guidelines contain generalised supplementation information that is publicly available and supplements can be purchased at natural health stores. It is your responsibility to discuss any supplementation with your health professional or doctor, particularly if you are on medication. 


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butter bean mash
Butter Bean Mash
Our new favourite dish – butter bean mash ?
My son is in love with beans. He loves all kinds of beans so we decided to try this new butter bean mash recipe.
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weaning baby
Healthy way to wean your baby
Breast milk offers your baby so much more than just comfort and a full tummy. As breast milk flows from you to your baby, It releases nutrients in order of importance to keep your baby’s blood sugar balanced.
The first to flow from breast milk is predigested protein in the form of amino acids. Then fats are released to support brain and nerve development and lastly, sugars help energy for the rapid growth your baby is experiencing.
Start weaning your baby around 4-6months. A good indication of when a baby is ready for first food is when He/She is able to sit up on their own.
Start off with avocado. Avocado is a great nutrient-dense food that is a full meal on its own. Avocado has the closest composition to breast milk. It is full of healthy fats and has 20 different vitamins and minerals that your baby needs to grow and be healthy.
Veggies are more nutrient dense than fruits so try to get them in before introducing cereals or grains. Start with single veggie purees like butternut, sweet potato, baby marrows, and carrots, then move on to combined vegetable purees
after 2 weeks.
Introduce finger-size amounts of protein e.g. white fish pureed with veggie after the first month. Then chicken, and then lastly red meat.
In the first year of a baby’s life, their intestines are porous, so we want to limit typical food allergens like gluten and wheat because they can an immune reaction which may lead to allergies and eczema later on. Gluten-free grains include; millet, sorghum, chia, rice and corn.
For the first year, a baby’s digestive system is still trying to develop so they may struggle to digest citrus fruits, and nightshade foods like tomatoes, eggplants, mushrooms and peppers.
Pulsers, dairy, and eggs can be introduced towards the end of the first year.

This is an exciting time for you and your baby, so don’t let this become stressful. Don’t be too rigid about following these suggestions. Use them as a general guideline and adjust them according to how your baby is responding.

Let your baby get used to one flavour at a time. Let him/her discover each food’s texture and smell, and let them be messy.
Investigate for yourself what ‘baby-led weaning’ is all about and if you would like to give it a try. Teach your baby how to eat and enjoy food by eating with them. Meals are more enjoyable when we eat together.
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We now know that heart disease is caused by long-term low-grade inflammation of the arterial walls. Cholesterol is merely trying to help by adhering to lesions in the arterial walls, much like a plaster does on our outside skin.

Foods and lifestyle habits can cause and exacerbate inflammation, but there are many foods, herbs, spices and nutrients as well as lifestyle choices that help reduce it. Backed up with the necessary changes – a healthy diet, regular exercise, not smoking and reducing alcohol – many people find rapid improvements in their cholesterol ratios, blood pressure and other indicators of risk. 

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Immune boosting action plan

The purpose of the immune system is to identify the body’s enemies and destroy them. These enemies include defective body cells as well as foreign agents such as bacteria and viruses.

The main ‘gates’ into the body are the skin, the digestive tract, which lets in food, and the lungs, which let in air. Healthy, strong mucous membranes in the respiratory and digestive tract are the first line of defence against invaders

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Improving your digestion
Improving your digestion

Nothing created by man compares to the magnificent design of the human body. For example, today you will produce 10 liters of digestive juices to break down the food you eat to enable it to pass through your ‘inside skin’, the gastrointestinal wall. Your intestine is a 30-foot long tract with a surface area the size of a small football pitch, which effectively replaces itself every four days. The health of your gastrointestinal tract is maintained by a team of between 300 and 4,000 strains of bacteria and other microorganisms.

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