6 Foods That Help You Feel Happy
Fight that Seasonal Affective Disorder with a few helpful snacks
Living in the UK, I'm pretty sure about 90% of my friends have complained about feeling like they have S.A.D. at some point (which stands for 'Seasonal Affective Disorder' and is aptly abbreviated to S.A.D). Although a lot of the time their complaints are more dramatic than factual, it is very likely that they do experience a drop in Vitamin D levels during the winter months.
According to UK national surveys, 1 in 5 people have low vitamin D levels. This is often due to a seasonal lack of sunlight exposure (the main way we absorb this particular vitamin), but also is heavily affected by the foods we eat. Vitamin D is one of our key mood-boosting nutrients, so no wonder why many people feel a little blue when the sky is grey.
Eat the following foods as part of a balanced diet so that you can keep that summer mood all year round.
1. Yellow and Orange 'Happy' Coloured Fruits and Veg
Naturally yellow and orange foods contain high concentrations of Vitamin D (as well as another key nutrient Beta Carotene, which supports mood and mental function). This includes:
- Bananas, Sweetcorn, Oranges, Carrots, Sweet Potatoes, Butternut Squash, Peppers
2. Fatty Fish
As well as being high in super beneficial essential fatty acid Omega 3 (excellent for brain function, heart health and healthy skin), fish contain a lot of Vitamin D. This includes:
- Salmon, Mackerel, Tuna
Mushrooms in all their forms are a great addition to a balanced diet. You can even place them in the sunlight for a little while before you eat them to allow them to absorb even more Vitamin D.
Milk is a great source of Vitamin D and calcium - both of which contribute to healthy bones, which is why milk is such a staple throughout childhood.
However, if you're lactose intolerant like me, or have chosen a vegan lifestyle, fortified dairy free milks such as almond milk, oat milk and soy milk also contain a lot of the good stuff.
5. Breakfast Cereal
Opting for a low-fat, low-sugar fortified breakfast cereal ('fortified' just means that extra nutrients have been artificially added) is a great way to get enough Vitamin D. Complex carbohydrates are also linked to increased serotonin activity (the mood-boosting brain chemical), so healthy cereals will help lift those blues in more ways than one.
Eggs, more specifically egg yolks, are pack full of Vitamin D, as well as Vitamin B6, B12 and minerals such as zinc and iron, which all contribute to boosting mood and energy.