Eating has many more effects on our body than simply satiating our hunger and giving us energy. Some foods don’t give us much energy at all, and others still have a detrimental affect on both the body and mind. It’s extremely important to choose your meals wisely so that you can reap the health benefits – and this is especially true if you suffer from low moods.
It’s all about the health of your gut microbiome (the trillions of microorganisms in the large intestine). Research has shown that our gut microbiome actually interacts with serotonin and dopamine, those feel-good hormones that make all the difference to our mood stability. Since there are many foods that help produce feel-good hormones, it’s a great idea to incorporate them into your daily meals.
Most of us crave different kinds of meals at different times of year, and it makes sense that in the spring you’ll want to spring into action. That means you’ll benefit from light, energy boosting meals that are packed with nutrients. Oxford Biolabs has put together some tasty meal ideas to boost your mood this spring. So read on if you want to take your health, energy levels and mood to the next level…
Our 5 best meals to boost your mood this spring
- Avocado and Black Bean Eggs
Avocados are packed with essential fatty acids (monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids) – in fact, they’re one of the healthiest, mood-boosting fat sources available. They also contain vitamin B5, which supports the adrenal glands, responsible for your stress hormone production. As if that weren’t enough, they give you a healthy dose of tyrosine, a helpful amino acid that boosts your dopamine levels.
Eggs are high in protein, vitamin D and B12, and choline. Choline supports your nervous system and contributes to the regulation of those feel-good hormones we mentioned above. They can also offer you some zinc and magnesium, which are good for relieving anxiety. Why not give these benefits a test run by trying out this avocado and black bean eggs recipe? It is an ideal meal at any time of day this season.
- Baked Salmon with Salsa Verde
Salmon is chock-full of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids and rich in Vitamin B12, which is the perfect vitamin for beating tiredness and fatigue while elevating your mood. When cooked right, it also tastes absolutely fantastic!
Of all the ways to cook a mouth-watering salmon dish, we particularly love this healthy and light recipe for salsa verde salmon. It’s the perfect dish to get your healthy fats, some extra protein, and some fibre from the chickpeas. As an important side note, we recommend sourcing wild Alaskan salmon if you can, since farmed salmon (which makes up the majority on supermarket shelves) is full of nasties that won’t do your body any good.
- Lemon Glazed Ginger Tempeh With Brown Rice and Fresh Basil
A favourite with vegans, tempeh is an excellent source of gut-friendly prebiotics, so it’s arguably one of the best foods for good moods. Tempeh is also highly nutritious, full of protein, fibre, iron, and potassium.
Fermented foods and drinks are very good for gut health as they introduce friendly bacteria to the gut microbiome. They also help food to digest more easily and increase the bioavailability of B and C vitamins and proteins. If you like the sound of this you might want to try out kombucha, sauerkraut and kimchi too.
We love this crispy tempeh dish, which contains delicious shallots (a great source of iron, fibre and potassium). It’s full of flavour and textures that will have you coming back for more. As an added bonus, it’s exceptionally easy to make!
- Scrambled Eggs with Sauerkraut
Sauerkraut is a probiotic dish, so it’s a great ingredient to add to your mood-boosting meals. Sauerkraut is basically just finely cut raw cabbage, fermented by various lactic acid bacteria. It has a salty, sweet and tangy taste, and it’s very ‘moreish’! It keeps for a very long time so you can make up a batch and serve it up in different dishes to enhance your mood.
We’ve already mentioned how amazing eggs are for your mood and physical health. As a side note, since you’ll want the health-giving omega-3 fatty acids rather than a more detrimental excess of omega-6, we recommend you aim for organic, free-range eggs from a farm, as the standard supermarket eggs from battery farms are not nearly as good for you.
A quick, simple but surprisingly tasty dish for spring time is scrambled eggs with sauerkraut. We can see this being a go-to breakfast to complement the sunny mornings.
- Strawberry, Apple and Quinoa Spinach Salad
Many a nutritionist will tout the benefits of leafy greens, and with good reason. These life-giving leaves contain a whole host of beneficial vitamins and minerals; for instance, they are high in relaxing magnesium and energy-boosting vitamin B. Grab yourself any of the following leaves and you’ll be doing your nervous system a huge favour:
We don’t need to tell you that fruits are always a good idea (provided they’re not covered in pesticides - always go organic!), and quinoa is another food to boost your mood, since it contains vitamin B. All of these wonderful ingredients come together in this delicious, brightly coloured salad.
Other food tips for better moods
What you put into your body is one of the most important parts of the equation, but of course what you don’t put in is also a crucial factor in good health. Here are a few extra tips for keeping your mood elevated through diet:
- Drop the sugar habit
- Don’t eat processed foods and drinks
- Stay away from inorganic pesticides and additives wherever possible
- Give alcohol a break (at least for a while – it’s actually a depressant)
We hope you found our top 5 mood-boosting meal ideas inspiring. We also hope you’ll enjoy them regularly as part of a balanced, healthy diet this spring and beyond! To bring a few extra benefits into your life this season, don’t forget to check out Immune Plus, the perfect immune-supporting supplement… and get in touch if you have any questions – we’re always happy to help!