Beat the blues the healthy way

Eating right foods can help elevate your mood. So, plan your meals wisely

By Deepshikha Agarwal

Published: Thu 12 Mar 2020, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Fri 13 Mar 2020, 1:00 AM

Feeling low and sad? Want to start your day with a smile? Remember, what you eat is what you feel. Boost up your mood-enhancer hormones, rather endorphins, by eating the right foods.
Now, the main source of endorphin is sugar and carbohydrate-rich foods. This is why some women seem to feel happier after they have eaten sweets, cakes, biscuits or chocolate. But the problem with eating these foods is they lead you on a different path - an unhealthy path. To avoid this, try to include some amount of fibre with sugary foods, as such foods lift your mood slowly but definitely for a longer time. This would mean staying happy for longer time.
Let's plan the strategies to reap the happiness rewards

Choose your favourite foods, but in a smart way
Actually, low time is not always the best time to start a weight-reduction programme.  However, some women would feel happier if they lost a little weight. Go for detoxification; try a smoothie or fruit diet. Remember, your primary goal is to enjoy your food. Otherwise, treat yourself with that short burst of 'happiness'. An occasional sweet, cake, chocolate or ice cream can help cheer you up. Sugary foods, however, will give you a mood crash if you don't follow them with some fibre. So, eat something that is both sweet and high in fibre. Fresh fruits and oat biscuits can be good mood boosters.
For breakfast, go for whole wheat bread with a low sugar fruit spread/mix fruit jam, a bowl of oatmeal with raisins or honey-coated cornflakes in milk accompanied by fruits like pineapple and strawberries which are rich sources of phytonutrients. This will help you remain energised the whole day. For desserts, treat yourself to fruit custard with jelly or a mixed fruit bowl with honey and yoghurt. It is always better to use honey instead of refined sugars.

Pump up protein
Research has proven that people having low protein diet may often feel low. Therefore, make sure to include adequate amounts of protein in your meals, that is five to six servings. You can have milk and milk products, fish, egg whites, and various beans like soybeans. Soya bread is a good option, too.
Tip: Sprinkle nuts like almonds and walnuts on your yoghurt, salads and cereals. Always choose quinoa over rice and pasta.

Make eating a pleasurable experience
Try to include fresh, local colourful and tasty ingredients in your meals. Explore food markets and look at cookery books for inspiration. Eating out with a friend in a relaxed restaurant or al fresco can help lift your mood. Fix a time for your meals and make yourself the priority. Set aside half an hour to eat your food and savour every bite. After the meal, take a moment to relax. Make eating a pleasurable experience.

Exercise regularly
Exercise will make you feel happier as it causes the body to produce endorphins. It also helps relieve stress.

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