Ever heard of comforting eating? Of course you have! For most of us comfort eating is a tub of ice cream, or a bag of chips; something fast, fattening and easy. Comfort eating doesn’t have to be bad for you. Some food types contain naturally occurring chemicals that really do make you feel better. Here are some tasty, healthy comfort foods for you to try next time you’re reaching for the ice cream:
- Lemon is shown to improve your mood from just one sniff, according to research. Just the scent of this citrus fruit made people feel happier and more relaxed. Have a slice in hot water or in black tea; squeeze over fish or make your own home made lemonade to put the zing back in your mood!
- Green Tea has been utilized for thousands of years for its range of health benefits. This beverage is high in antioxidants, amino acids and L-theanine, which is shown to improve your mood whilst reducing anxiety and stress. As well as improving your mood, green tea can increase memory, focus and mental alertness. Aim for at least one cup a day for a longer, happier life.
- Walnuts have the highest essential fat content of any nut. Not only do they boost your mood but 10 walnuts a day can optimize cell composition and function and lower cholesterol. This will improve your circulation, can help to treat depression and will leave you feeling generally happy. So grab a handful, but just one handful; they may be good for you but nuts are still high in fat!
- Bananas are a great instant energy source. They contain high levels of vitamins, minerals and tryptophan. The vitamin B6 in bananas converts the tryptophan to serotonin the “happy hormone”. Tryptophan is used in medication for insomnia, anxiety and depression, so not only will you feel better but you will sleep better too. All in all, a banana is a fully inclusive energy-providing, mood-enhancing, sleep-inducing package. Chopped over oatmeal or yoghurt, made into a milkshake or by itself, if you want a quick fix, have a banana.
Avocados contain good fats that can raise the levels of dopamine, essential for effective brain function, and endorphins, our body’s own natural pain relief. These monounsaturated fats also help to lower blood pressure and keep the brain receptive to serotonin, improving mood, health and overall wellbeing.
It’s not just diet that can help to boost your mood. Losing weight is shown to benefit your brain and your well-being. Weight loss surgery patients who have undergone procedures such as gastric lap banding or gastric bypass surgery have been shown to experience improved memory, reduced stress and depression and reduced insomnia due to the restoration of balance in hormone production and absorption in the body.