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Can food choice affect mood? Balham nutrition coach explains

Can food choice affect mood? Balham nutrition coach explains

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week. Balham-based nutrition coach, Hayley Geddes-Smith, explains how a careful choice of diet can boost our mental health.

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Can food really boost mood? Stress and food often go hand in hand, affecting everyone in different ways. Stress is something that very easily affects me, so I need to ensure that my diet and lifestyle are the best they can possibly be to support my mental health.

I'm therefore sharing 3 of my top nutrition tips that you can easily incorporate into your diet.

1. Ditch the refined sugars and go wholesome

Highly refined carbohydrates, such as white bread and pasta have very simple sugar molecules. These require little digestive effort to break down so they enter the bloodstream rapidly, resulting in your blood sugar levels rising. At first it can be quite a pleasant feeling — however once the sugars are hastily put to use as energy, your blood sugar levels plummet leaving the ‘sugar slump’ to kick in. This can lead to headaches, mood swings and further sweet cravings, starting the whole vicious cycle again. Switch to whole foods and whole grain versions like brown rice and bread, which take longer to digest, which help to balance your blood sugar levels.

2. Increase your greens

During times of stress we tend to tense up our muscles which is where these greens come into play. Dark leafy greens such as kale and spinach are packed with magnesium, which works by regulating our muscle contractions and helps to physically relax the muscles. This can have a beneficial effect on your mood by helping you to feel more physically relaxed.

 

3. Take care of your gut

Approximately 90-95% of the bodies serotonin (aka the happiness drug) is produced in the gut. We can help support this production by optimising our gut health, which we can do in two ways: 1) increase our prebiotic intake from foods such as onion, leeks, garlic and bananas which all help feed our good gut bacteria. 2) consume probiotic foods which house live bacteria. These include kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, greek yogurt and miso.

 


Hayley Geddes-Smith is an evidence-based nutrition coach (MCMA) based in Balham. Find out more about Hayley and her Balance By Hayley business on her website and follow her on Instagram and Facebook.

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