Nourishing Your Way to Happiness: Mood-Boosting Foods

Woman using Vitamix Blender to pour green juice into glass

“Happiness Happens Month,”, celebrated annually in August, is the perfect time to reflect on our well-being and embrace the little things that bring joy to our lives. While happiness can stem from various sources, the connection between what we eat and how we feel is undeniable. So, in honour of Happiness Happens Month, let’s delve into some mood-boosting foods whilst exploring the power of mindfulness and eating for a truly positive mealtime experience.

Ever noticed how a comforting meal can lift your spirits and brighten your day? It’s not just a coincidence – science confirms that the food we consume can have a profound impact on our mood and emotional well-being. Certain nutrients in our diet play a vital role in producing neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine, which are closely linked to happiness and relaxation.

Top Mood-Boosting Foods:

  1. Berries: These colourful gems are rich in antioxidants that help combat inflammation and oxidative stress, which can contribute to mood disorders. The natural sweetness and vibrant colours of berries are bound to make you smile.
  2. Fatty Fish: Salmon, mackerel, and trout are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to support brain health and reduce the risk of depression. These fatty acids play a crucial role in maintaining the integrity of brain cell membranes.
  3. Leafy Greens: Spinach and kale are loaded with folate, a B vitamin that supports the production of serotonin. They also contain magnesium, which can help relax muscles and promote a sense of calm.
  4. Nuts and Seeds: Almonds, walnuts, flaxseeds, and chia seeds are rich in healthy fats, protein, and magnesium. These nutrients are essential for maintaining stable energy levels and supporting cognitive function.
  5. Dark Chocolate: Indulging in a bit of dark chocolate can trigger the release of endorphins, the “feel-good” hormones. Dark chocolate, whilst tasting delicious, is also rich in antioxidants and may have a positive impact on stress levels.

Mood Boosting Recipes:
White Chocolate Peanut Butter Energy Balls
Mixed Nut Butter
Almond Raspberry Smoothie
Peanut Butter Berry Smoothie
Blackberry Beet Smoothie Bowl
All Green Smoothie Bowl
Green Mole
Basic Green Smoothie

As we focus on incorporating mood-boosting foods into our diet, let’s not forget the importance of mindfulness. Being kind to your mind involves fostering self-awareness, gratitude, and acceptance. Practising mindfulness allows you to savour each bite, experience the sensory pleasure of eating, and create a positive relationship with food.

Mindful Eating Tips:

  1. Savour Each Bite: Take your time to truly experience the flavours, textures, and aromas of your food. Engage your senses fully in the act of eating.
  2. Gratitude Ritual: Before you start your meal, take a moment to express gratitude for the nourishment before you. This simple practice can set a positive tone for your eating experience.
  3. Stay Present: Put away distractions like phones or screens during meals. Focus solely on the food and the company around you.
  4. Chew Thoroughly: Chewing your food slowly not only aids digestion but also allows you to appreciate the taste and texture of each bite fully.

The art of mindfulness is something that can be incorporated throughout your day, from mindful eating to pockets of mindfulness added to your daily routines. Consider practising mindfulness on your next walk or time spent outdoors, allow your senses to tune into the moment: what can you hear, see, smell, taste or feel? Whilst walking, bring your attention to the sensation of each step. Notice the ground beneath your feet and the rhythm of your stride.

Adding mindful steps into your morning or evening routine is also a great way to easily incorporate mindfulness into your day to begin or wind down with intention and reflection. Slow down, take some mindful breaths and reflect on the day. Practising mindfulness is a wonderful way to truly experience the present moment for what it is and it has a myriad of positive wellbeing benefits to enjoy.

As we celebrate Happiness Happens Month, let’s embrace the wonderful connection between the foods we eat and the joy we experience. By integrating mood-boosting foods into our diet and practising mindfulness, we can truly begin to nurture our bodies and minds. Embrace this next month and beyond with delicious food, ready to be savoured and enjoyed either on your own or with loved ones for a delightfully flavourful experience. Remember to enjoy the journey, not just the destination!