People often say they are feeling stressed and anxious because things just feel too much and they aren’t sure which way to turn next.
As well as speaking to your GP about any concerns, it is vital to look after yourself so that your problems don’t take over your life.
We have had a look at some ways you can ensure your mood is boosted by what you eat and drink.
When your blood sugar drops you can end up feeling tired, irritable and down in the dumps. To avoid this happening, it is important to eat small, regular meals during the day as well as adding in healthy snacks. Opting for foods that release energy slowly is key to keeping those all-important sugar levels steady, and these types of foods include wholegrain pasta, rice, bread, and cereals as well as nuts and seeds.
Top tip: always eat breakfast as this gets your day off to a good start. A couple of slices of wholegrain toast with peanut butter, scrambled eggs or a vitamin packed green smoothie will make all the difference to how you feel. Try to avoid sweets, biscuits, sugary drinks, and alcohol as they are all jam-packed with sugar which will give you an initial rush, but you will soon crash back to earth and feel rubbish.
We always say this, but you need to drink plenty of water if you to live well and feel good. Not getting enough H20 means you will find it hard to concentrate, you won’t be able to think clearly or remember things, your skin can suffer and you may even feel constipated, and that certainly won’t do your mood any good.
Top tip: start your day with a cup of warm water with lemon, drink water and herbal tea during the day and knock fizzy drinks on the head.
Take care of your gut
You might not know this, but your gut reflects your emotions. If you’re feeling anxious or worried, this can make your gut slow down or speed up and your mood will be all over the place. To ensure you have healthy digestion, you need to consume plenty of fibre and fluids, and it is also important to exercise regularly as this won’t only look after your gut, but it will flood also your system with the feel-good chemicals that help you smile.
Top tip: healthy gut foods include fresh fruits and vegetables, wholegrains, beans, pulses, live yoghurt and you can also take a probiotic supplement so you are getting everything you need to look after you and your gut.
Cut the caffeine
When you are feeling tired, the temptation to reach for a cup of coffee is natural, but this is full of stimulating caffeine which might help for a while, but in the longterm it can make you feel more anxious and disturb your sleep.
Top tip: caffeine is found in tea, coffee, chocolate, cola and energy drinks, so try to cut down on your intake over time, don’t stop suddenly as this can cause withdrawal symptoms including terrible headaches. Opt for water and herbal teas instead of your usual tipple, and while there are decaf options, these tend to contain chemicals, so remember that the most natural option is usually the best bet for your mood.
Get your five a day
You might think this is a myth, but if you want to look after your physical and mental health, getting at least five a day is important. Fruit and vegetables not only taste great but they are full of the minerals, vitamins and fibre that keep us healthy and strong in body and mind.
Top tip: remember that fresh, frozen and juiced fruits and vegetables all count towards your five a day, so have a reserve of frozen options in your freezer so you don’t run out of nourishing ingredients and end up snacking on crisps and sweets.
Eat the right fats
We have been led to believe that fat is bad for us, but that isn’t strictly true. The reality is that your brain needs omega 3 and 6 omega fatty acids to keep it working well, so don’t avoid fats altogether, just try to eat the right ones. You will find good fats in food like oily fish, poultry, nuts (especially almonds and walnuts), olive oil, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, avocados, milk, yoghurt, cheese and eggs.
Top tip: avoid ‘trans fats’ which are found in fast food, cakes and biscuits because while they might taste great, they won’t do your mood or waistline any good.
Remember your protein
You might not know this, but protein contains the amino acids that your brain needs to regulate your feelings and thoughts. It also helps keep you feeling fuller, for longer which is why we suggest you eat it at every meal. Protein is found in cheese, eggs, peas, beans and lentils, soya products, nuts and seeds as well as in lean meat and fish, so you have plenty of choice.
Top tip: if you follow a plant-based diet, peas, green leaves, legumes, Tofu, and edamame all contain protein so you and your mood don’t need to go without.