Wouldn’t it be great to have a good mood all the time? How is this possible I hear you asking. The weather’s still cold!
One simple way to boost your mood is by incorporating foods containing the amino acid tryptophan such include: mung beans, lobster, turkey, asparagus, sunflower seeds, cottage cheese, pineapple, tofu, spinach and bananas. Tryptophan is synthesised into serotonin in the brain a neurotransmitter that that can be found in the digestive tract, central nervous system and blood platelets. Serotonin is responsible for regulating mood and makes you feel positive and confident. Carbohydrates are needed for serotonin production and the reason is because the insulin induced by the carbohydrate increases the tryptophan ratio over the other amino acids. Therefore ensure you are getting complex carbohydrates from potatoes, sweet potatoes, wholegrain pasta, rice, bread and oats. If you are following a restricted carb diet and feeling low most of the time, it is probable that you are not consuming sufficient carbs. For stable mood and energy levels try to avoid going longer than three hours without food and stay hydrated with herbal teas and water. If you don’t eat enough calories and nutrients from the foods you eat you run the risk of your body craving stimulants in the form of sugars and caffeine to give you the instant kick and adrenaline rush. One cup of coffee is fine a day but relying on more than three cups for example can play havoc with your hormones which will impact your mood. When the effects of the stimulants wear off the sugar high is quickly followed by a dip, setting off serious mood swings. This pattern can become a vicious cycle: as we become more miserable and sluggish, we crave more sugar, pile on more pounds and lose any motivation to exercise, worsening our mood further.
If you feel like your spirits are still low and you are eating balanced healthy meals it is worth seeking advise from your GP/health professional or nutritionist who can advise you on tests to check for hormone and nutrient deficiencies. Of course each case is unique and sometimes the diet may not address the underlying complaint. However looking closely at your diet is a good place to start.
Aside from your chomping on good mood foods you can get yourself motivated by following some or all of the tips below:
-If your weight is getting you down book a session with a personal trainer and nutritionist to get you back on the right track. Exercise creates mood-boosting endorphins – the body’s natural feel good chemicals
-Take up a new hobby & indulge your unique interests!
-Surround yourself with upbeat people and friends and have a good belly laugh.
-Visit a new place or country
-Listen to happy songs – a good tune will get you smiling in no time.
Peppermint has been used for thousands of years to soothe the digestive system. Peppermint is a natural hybrid of spearmint (common flavour found in toothpaste and chewing gum) and watermint (mentha aquatica). The crossing of the two species resulted in a herb that contained far higher levels of essential oils, making peppermint the most medicinally active of all the mint species.
The most active constituents are the essential oils, two of which are menthol and menthone, which have a range of powerful effects on the digestive system and respiratory system. A number of clinical studies have found peppermint oil significantly improves symptoms of IBS such as gas and pain. Peppermint is a useful decongestant and commonly added to cough and cold remedies. As a topical application peppermint oil may have a pain-killing effect and was used traditionally for muscle and nerve pain such as sciatica. Dabbing diluted peppermint oil to one’s temples and forehead may sooth away tension headaches.
Peppermint is available in a variety of forms: tea, essential oil, liquid extracts and capsules. You can also find fresh mint and use this for tea or to make some natural remedies.
For peppermint products, follow the labels as the strengths can vary. The usual dosage is 10-15g dried herb daily. Although a safe remedy it can provoke acid-reflux in people prone to heartburn. For pregnant women the tea is fine to take but it advisable not to take the peppermint capsules as there is limited research in pregnancy.
Commonly described as the gateway into the soul our eyes allow us to experience colours, flowers, words, pictures, faces, animals, food, trees, and lots more. The eyes are also useful diagnostic structures that tell us a lot about our general health. Regular eye check ups with the optician are cruicial and a trip to an iridologist may also prove insightful! Some common experienced eye complaints aside from myopia (short sightedness) and hyperopia (long sightedness) include dry eyes, glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. There are many risk factors associated with these conditions however diet and lifestyle are modifiable.
The eye is an active part of your body that needs to be fed and nurtured. You may have heard of Lutein (LOO-teen) and Zeaxanthin (zee-ah-ZAN-thin) two pigments, which give marigold flowers their vibrant yellow hue which aere concentrated in the macular of the eye. They are important for preventing macular degeneration, which can lead to vision loss and blindness. They are members of the carotene class like beta-carotene and alpha carotene- all important for healthy vision. Carotenoids are responsible for giving fruit and vegetables their distinctive colours, and the brightness is a good indicator of how much it contains. Yellow-red pigments- carrots (orange), squash (yellow), beets (red), and red cabbage (purple) in addition to dark green leafy vegetables, like spinach, kale, avocadoes, chard and romaine lettuce are great sources. Many of these foods also contain vitamins such as A and C further important for keeping your eyes bright. Blueberries, blackberries, and cherries contain flavonoids, which are antioxidants that combat oxidative stress, thus reducing the ageing process. The mineral zinc is also necessary for optimum vision and is concentrated in parts of the eye and can be found in pumpkin seeds, oysters, clams, red meat, and
chicken. If you commonly suffer from dry eyes regardless if you wear lens, try boosting your daily intake of essential fats found in oily fish, nuts, seeds and avocados. You may want to consider taking a GLA omega 6 fatty acid supplement temporarily from borage (also known as starflower) and blackcurrant seed oil. Speak to a nutritional therapist like myself to ensure you select a good quality supplement suited for your requirements.