Can you eat your your way to happiness?

If you read my #BlogSquad post for www.meetothermums.com this month, you’ll know that a couple of weeks back I was having a rubbish day, week, moment…meh.

No drama to report. No epic catastrophes or anything, I was just feeling overwhelmed with the everyday things. The school run, cooking another dinner to be refused point blank, and generally the exhausting state of our sleep deprivation. It happens to us all from time to time, right?

Whether you’re having a bout of PMT, PND, PTSD, Depression, anxiety or just having a crappy day (again), sometimes, you need to cut yourself some slack and take all the advice you can get to get yourself out of a mental rut.

Open as ever, I was having a vent amongst some pretty wonderful friends when one of them asked if I’d tried some dietary solutions. I had to confess this was a totally alien concept to me, so I was all ears and couldn’t get home to google it all quick enough.

So, whilst the concept of exercising to feel good, dieting to feel a million dollars, and having a spa weekend to re-group sound amazing, they are also quite seemingly unattainable at times. Or, a whole lot of effort at least. But eating food? Yeah I can give that a run for it’s money!

So what my research has uncovered is that there seems to be something in this. A lot of it seems non groundbreaking; drink more water, eat less junk. But, specifically there are a few little gems it’s worth knowing and who knows, we could all be skipping through our days whistling a happy tune in no time.

B vitamins (Folic acid & B12) – Marmite, Walnuts, Dark green leafy vegetables, oily fish (Mackerel, salmon anchovies), sweet potato, seeds.

It is thought that a deficiency in B vitamins can lead to anxiety and depression so it’s worth stockpiling these foods and loading up. You may shudder at the thought of Marmite on toast, but I’m a lover so happy days – marmite on seeded toast for brekkie it is.

Walnuts in the jar

Tryptophan – Eggs, Turkey breast, Salmon, Cheese, Nuts, Avocado

Serotonin can be thought of as the chemical messenger for happiness and whilst you can boost it with meds if needed, these naturally occurring high protein foods might just give your serotonin production a little boost too.

eggs, food

Selenium – Brazil nuts, turkey breast, tuna

A naturally occurring element found in many foods that is an all round good egg. With anti-oxidatve properties it is a cancer fighting, blood flow and immune system boosting, superstar. There is thought this can help depression too, so popping a handful of brazil nuts on your breakfast might work wonders for your body and mind.

Iron – Red meats, green leaves, dried apricots, peas, dark chocolate, fortified cereals and pasta.

Iron deficiency can make you feel generally rubbish. Whilst you may not be officially anaemic, your iron levels may well be fluctuating throughout the month and could be the reason your energy levels are on the floor.

Spinach, chicken & pomegranate salad

Vitamin D – Sunshine, Egg yolks, beef liver, fatty fish

As if you needed an excuse to get out on a sunny day…there is a real link between sunshine and your mood due to the vitamin D your body creates in sunshine. Seasonal affective disorder is real, and affects all of us so you can top up by eating the above foods, or even consider a vitamin D supplement.

blue, clouds, cloudy

Anti-oxidants; blueberries, green tea, kale, pomegranate

You are what you eat so try getting as many of these super food dudes in you as possible. Their super powers can’t fail but have a positive effect on your body, so that includes your mind too right?

beverage, cup, drink

Vitamin C; oranges, tomatoes, red peppers, broccoli, strawberries

You knew it was good for fighting colds, BUT did you know it’s good for fighting depression too?  There’s loads of reasons to try and tuck into your five fruit and veg a day (or more) and having a happy mind is just one of them.

Orange Fruit

Omega-3 – Avocado, oily fish

Brain food at it’s best, omega-3 plays a part in the brains nerve connections so it’s a no-brainer to squeeze as much in your diet as possible to keep that brain firing on all cylinders.

The bad guys

I don’t need to tell you that bingeing on booze, processed food, sugar and caffeine isn’t the answer. I’m just as guilty as the rest of us as relying on these pick me ups throughout the day and evening. BUT if you are feeling rubbish and really want to get yourself back to feeling tip top, you know that deep down these instant highs come followed by a big crash. I need to try harder to not use these props to feel better. One thing I try my best to do is save the booze for the weekend (not always easy after a tough day midweek!) and drink green tea instead of coffee as often as possible. Switch a chinese and its Monosodium glutamate migraine with a chicken kebab, and perhaps think twice about half a bottle of white wine to wash it down with.

I’ve made a change to my shopping list, and my go to snacks – nuts instead of crisps and dark chocolate instead of celebrations… will I see a difference? I’m looking forward to finding out.

x MMT

Rhyming with Wine
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17 thoughts on “Can you eat your your way to happiness?

  1. Heather Keet Reply

    I eat myself to happiness almost daily…but probably not in a good way 😉 #DreamTeam

  2. pamsbakeandbabyblog Reply

    Im interested to see how you get on. For a long time now iv considered that my fiet may be contributing to my swings of moods and really know i need to do something about it. Some great ideas. #coolmumclub

  3. keepmum1 Reply

    you mean to tell me my diet of caffeine and biscuits isn’t helping my mood? *gasp*
    this is a great post very informative, I’m going too try and follow some of it- not sure I can manage to ditch the coffee though! #coolmumclub

  4. Kristie - Mammaprada Reply

    This is so true, actually the healthy things sound great as well, it’s just about changing your habits I guess. I think I am guilty of doing all the shopping for the children and meals etc but not really thinking what I will eat for my own lunch during the week as I’m a SAHM. Then I end up eating toast or snacking all day which is not good! 🙁 #coolmumclub

  5. Susie / S.H.I.T. Reply

    This is good to know as I’m so guilty of going on sprees of healthy eating then huge binges of eating awfully, which inevitably always makes me feel awful but it’s so easy to slip into it again. #coolmumclub

  6. mummysetra Reply

    Some great advice here – i’m currently trying to lose my baby weight and all the above are healthy as well as happy foods! Thanks for the motivation! #coolmumclub

  7. motherhoodtherealdeal Reply

    I definitely think that what we eat has a huge influence on how we feel….I try to eat as well as possible but not militant about it but I know if I was eating bad stuff all day I would probably feel like a steaming turd! Sending #coolmumclub love your way xoxo

  8. Angela Watling Reply

    I can tell when I’ve not eaten well both physically and mentally. Where I have a ‘naughty’ food I try and make sure it’s something really good quality so that I’m not putting junk in my body. That makes me sound like I’ve got it sorted which is definitely NOT the case. But we didn’t have many bad snacks in the house pre-parenthood and culled most of the ones left once we had our daughter. If they aren’t there then she can’t ask for them and I also can’t eat them. Of course there is still the vending machine when I’m at work…. Good luck, I bet it makes a difference but look forward to hearing how it goes. #CoolMumClub

  9. anywaytostayathome Reply

    I have been obsessed with Marmite recently, I have also been feeling overwhelmed so I wonder if my body is trying to tell me something #coolmumclub

  10. Hannah Morgan Reply

    I eat so bad i really need to start thinking about changing some of my eating babies! #coolmumclub xx

  11. Aleena Brown Reply

    I changed my diet dramatically just under 2 years ago and before I had Wills. I joined Slimming World because I didn’t like being fat anymore, but what I’ve found since eating properly is that my energy levels have shot through the roof! I sleep better, and am marginally less cranky! I notice the dip in energy within a day of reverting back to my old ways I have to admit! Even my periods are less painful! I hope you’ve had a better couple of weeks xx #coolmumclub

  12. mamagrace Reply

    All this food is yummy to me. I think it makes a real difference when you shop from this list and then make your meals from it. The meals can be delicious. #coolmumsclub

  13. Annette, 3 Little Buttons Reply

    So many great ideas on what to eat. I’m taking note *not joking – I really am, because I am going to give this a really good try. We’ve had a little slip with not eating enough veggies lately, and probably too many sweet drinks as well. #DreamTeam x

  14. Helena Reply

    Having just been notified by my mum that I’ve gained in weight since having my girls (thanks mum). I ought to address the biscuit situation. I no longer drink fizzy or juice drinks cutting out a lot of sugar but I let myself down when it comes to chocolate. #coolmumclub

  15. Naptime Natter Wendy Reply

    This is a really informative post. I’m trying to be more health conscious and eat better. I am starting to notice a difference but it’s the 8pm chocolate binge that’s my downfall!xx #coolmumclub

  16. Tracey Abrahams Reply

    I really need to adopt some more of these in my diet. But I do think cake makes me happy too #coolmumsclub

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