With the festivities long gone and a seemingly endless stretch of cold weather, grey skies and detoxing before us, January is traditionally the bluest month of the year. As a result, many of us are looking to perk up our moods. The solution to the winter slump is easy to overcome – with just a quick trip to your nearest supermarket you can bust the blues and put a spring in your step – just stock up on these foods that are proven to make you happier!
Yes chocolate! Sadly Dairy Milk doesn’t count, but cacao (chocolate in its purest form) is high in magnesium, a mineral that helps to relax muscles and ease tension. Chocolate also contains tryptophan, which helps alleviate symptoms of depression – the perfect excuse to head to Whole Foods or even make a day of it and create your own raw treats!
Proven to alleviate symptoms of PMS and lower the risk of depression, tahini is not only full of calcium to promote strong bones, it is also a great source of magnesium, tryptophan and Vitamin B1 which has calming properties. Add to stir-fries and salad dressings for a creamy texture and Asian-inspired flavour you won’t believe is dairy free.
Not only are avocados full of good fats which are great for your skin, hair and nails, they contain serotonin, otherwise known as the happy hormone – a natural feel good transmitter to combat even the greyest of wintery days! Add to salads, smoothies and mash up on toast for instant, creamy, comforting deliciousness.
A zinc deficiency can trigger depressive behaviour, but pumpkin seeds are packed with the essential mineral. These salad sprinklers are also full of L-trytophan, a natural mood booster, so go to town on the little critters and use them to jazz up both sweet and savoury dishes to top up your zinc supplies!
A natural mood-booster, the nutrients in honey can provide both a calming effect and as well as boosting energy levels, a golden ticket if you are feeling stressed. A great alternative sweetener, add to porridge, raw cakes and hot drinks. However try to use it in its purest raw form.
This leafy green is full of folic acid, a B vitamin that has been proven to make you happier. Spinach is also an antioxidant that works to protect brain cells from free radicals, which can lead to mood swings. As huge advocates of eating your greens, we recommend adding this superfood to everything from smoothies to salads, where it cannot be tasted but turns everything a beautiful, healthy shade of green – if the vibrancy of green smoothies doesn’t make you smile then we’re not sure what will!
Feeling stressed? Swap your normal cuppa for a mug of green tea, which contains theanine, an antioxidant that acts as a calming agent to relieve the feeling of stress and anxiety than can often occur with lack of sunlight during the winter months.
Berries are not only one of the lowest sugar fruits; blueberries, raspberries and strawberries are packed with anthocyanidins, nutrients that help reduce stress and depression, and they re cheerily colourful to boot. Swap your usual biscuit for a handful of mixed berries to beat the 4pm slump.
Packed with B vitamins and essential fatty acids, eggs help the body to naturally produce serotonin (Remember? The happy hormone!) Plus, having a couple for breakfast has been proven to keep you feeling fuller for longer, stopping any blood sugar crashes later on. Now that’s something to get egg-cited about! Sorry…
words by Harriet Tisdall