How to Eat Yourself Healthy and Happy August 8, 2019

by Hattie Learn

You probably knew that food can affect how you feel. There’s a reason why, if we’re feeling low, we reach for a sweet snack.

The sudden spike of energy lifts us from those negative feelings. But, where there’s a sugar high, the inevitable sugar low looms.

Unlike the quick-fix of sugary foods, there are foods that are scientifically backed to help you feel happier and positively impact your mental health. Though food doesn’t cure mental health, most people underestimate the large part it plays in influencing your mood day-to-day. 

So, next time you’re feeling sad or burnt-out, reach for a bag of spinach (really!) Andre Dupin, Head Chef at HelloFresh, shares his know-how on what we can cook to keep our mind and bodies happy. 

Oily Fish

According to research, says Andre, people who are deficient in omega-3 fatty acids may be more susceptible to depression and low mood, as these fatty acids make up a large percentage of our brain tissue. It is also believed to be beneficial by lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease and it is recommended to eat 1 portion of oily fish a week. For inspiration and an instant pick-me-up, try a Hot Smoked Salmon Risotto.

Lentils

If there’s evidence that carbs keep you sane, we’re listening. Andre explains: “Lentils are a complex carbohydrate, so they help increase the amount of serotonin (a feel-good neurotransmitter also known as a happy hormone) in the brain.” They are also a good source of protein, which helps the body repair and grow, so for a calmer, happier state of mind and for a filling meal, try a recipe like the Parisienne Spiced Chicken with Mustardy Lentils and Roasted Carrots.

Chicken and Turkey

Chicken and turkey breast are loaded with tryptophan, which the body uses to make serotonin, says Andre. It also makes the sleep-inducing hormone, melatonin, help regulate your sleep, which is important for keeping your mood high. Lean meat is also a great source of protein, with vitamins and minerals including zinc, iron and B vitamins and is a main source of vitamin B12, which is key in the function of the nervous system. For Andre’s favourite turkey and chicken recipes, give the following a go.

Shawarma Pilaf

Turkey Forestiere

Spring-Time Roast Chicken Breast

Crispy-Skinned Chicken Breast

Spinach

“Spinach is a great mood-booster, and this is because it’s full of iron,” Andre describes, and, if you’re not getting enough iron, it’s likely you’ll start to feel the effect of fatigue. It also happens to be rich in folate, which is good for boosting your levels of serotonin. Spinach is a super versatile veg that suits many dishes and it’s especially good with the rich flavours of curry, like the Butternut and Chickpea Curry.

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