1. Goat Milk KefirGoat milk kefir is rich in tryptophan, which is an all-important precursor of our ‘happy’ hormone, serotonin. Serotonin acts as a chemical messenger in our brain that influences our mood, appetite, sleep, memory and learning, sexual desire and function, and other social behaviour. As a fermented food, kefir is an ideal source of probiotics (friendly bacteria) and the gut, where the probiotics inhabit, is known as our second brain and is a major site for serotonin production.
2. Chia SeedsChia seeds provide a complete source of protein and are extremely rich in fibre and omega-3 fatty acids. These seeds are a useful source of prebiotics which feed our gut bacteria and are demulcent, meaning they protect the gut lining. Chronic constipation and dysbiosis (when there is an imbalance of microorganisms in our gut) can lead to reabsorption of wastes and toxins. A slow bowel and poor elimination of toxins is linked to low mood, stress and depression; a shorter transit time reduces reabsorption of toxins in the bowel. Chia seeds help to clean and boost the digestive system by stimulating waste removal through the bowel.
3. SaffronSaffron (crocus sativus) shows promise for providing significant antidepressant effects without the unwanted side effects of medication. Use a good pinch of dried whole stigmas (pistils) in your cooking, as powdered saffron may be adulterated. Herbalists may suggest taking a tincture, a liquid extract taken under the tongue, so it enters the bloodstream quickly. This would provide a stronger, more concentrated therapeutic dose, which is not recommended during pregnancy.
4. Maca PowderMaca is an adaptogen which helps the body to cope with stress. It provides our bodies with minerals such as magnesium and calcium, and is rich in vitamins B, E and C. It may relieve symptoms of fatigue as well as lifting your mood (it’s not recommended for adrenal fatigue as it can be too stimulating) and it should be used in an on-and-off fashion (try taking some everyday for one month with one month off in between) or use sporadically, when a little boost is needed.
5. Red PeppersWhen we are feeling low or under stress, our body uses antioxidants like vitamin C to counteract the stress-induced damage from oxidation and free-radicals. Red peppers are a great source of vitamin C and other antioxidants, they give our body just what it needs during a time of stress. Vitamin C is water-soluble so our bodies cannot store it, which is why we must consume it regularly. Plus, higher vitamin C intake is also linked with improved health and emotional state.
6. Raw Cacao NibsDark chocolate polyphenols have been shown to increase mood and stimulate feelings of wellbeing and relaxation. As well as promoting positive mood, those who add it to their diet show reduced levels of the stress hormone cortisol, in their urine. However, dark chocolate also contains caffeine which can exacerbate stress-related insomnia or irritability and can encourage dependence, so it’s best used for an occasional boost – very little will suffice!
It is important to remember that optimum nutrition, as a whole, is key to how we feel and how we handle stress. Choosing organic food will reduce the toxins going into your body, and this can also help lift mood.
It is all about FOOD™
This Blog offers an easy-to-read condensed descriptive of food groups, nutrients, and their role on our body; cooking processes; world news with major impact on food and consumers; comprehensive reviews of restaurants (Menus, Food-on-plate and Quality of Service); and easy-to-follow Exquisite recipes, as well as healthy snacks and juices.
Olivier is a Michelin trained chef, a registered Naturopath and Nutritional Therapist, embracing fully his passion for good food and healthy eating.