Do you want to relax more and have less stress in your life?
What you eat plays a part in how you feel but more importantly in how you react to various situations. The first thing I would recommend would be to avoid the following list of foods because they will rob you of your inner calm:
Fried foods, gluten, high glycaemic carbohydrates, unrefined sugars, alcoholic and excessive caffeine.
These foods will either give you a quick fix which will then leave you feeling worse afterwards or disrupt the delicate balance of your microbiome (your gut health). I know it can be difficult. You have had a really hard day, your car broke down, you were late for an important meeting, you didn’t get the contract, you didn’t meet your targets and so when you get home you will often feel that you deserve that big glass of wine, that fish and chip supper or large bar of Galaxy.
However, it isn’t a reward. It really is a poison and what you should be reaching for is something to calm you down naturally. Foods like dark green leafy vegetables that are rich in folate, which helps your body produce mood-regulating neurotransmitters, including serotonin and dopamine. Bring out the kale and spinach – these foods don’t have to be boring – you can make them taste gorgeous. My recipe for garlic, chilli and spinach curry is lovely and really mellows the mood. I will be sharing it next month (November) in my Newsletter.
Organic turkey is a great source of tryptophan, an amino acid which is a protein building block that your body converts into serotonin. Remember that relaxed feeling after eating your Christmas lunch? It isn’t all about the wine and amount of food eaten. Research shows that argumentative people who consumed tryptophan become markedly more pleasant, so make sure you feed some to the people who cause you the most stress!
Dark chocolate (ideally above 85%) has a chemical in it called anandamide, which is a neurotransmitter produced in the brain that temporarily blocks feelings of pain and depression. It also contains other chemicals that prolong the "feel-good" aspects of anandamide. Just make sure you don’t eat too much of it. Ideally about 25 grams is a good amount.
Most people need more magnesium and great sources are seeds, beans, nuts, seaweed and you guessed it, dark green leafy vegetables. Magnesium acts as a precursor for neurotransmitters like serotonin and is well-known for its role in helping to regulate your emotions and enhancing your well-being. It also relaxes your muscles which helps too. Maybe try an Epsom Salt bath before bed?
Fish containing omega 3’s can help lessen anxious feelings. Sardines or wild Alaskan salmon are great sources, as are chia seeds.
Any fermented foods are wonderful additions because your gut sends more signals to the brain than the other way around. Just think back to a time when your tummy wasn’t quite right; I bet your mood wasn't great. Give your microbiome the right prebiotic foods to keep the probiotics alive and your mood will most definitely improve.
Please don’t underestimate the connection between what you eat and how you feel.
If in doubt do a little experiment and keep a food/mood diary and you will soon see a correlation.