Five healthy foods to help improve your mood as the days get shorter

As the cold nights and shorter days begin to creep in, it’s commonplace for many people to feel under the weather and turn to ‘comfort foods’, which actually only provide you with a short-term-fix of ‘comfort!’

SAD (seasonal affective disorder) is when your mood is highly dependent on the season. For example, being very happy in the summer but experiencing feelings of sadness as the seasons change and the dark nights start to set in.

When feeling low, eating the right foods, instead of giving into less healthy alternatives, can be a great way to boost your mood. So, we’ve curated a list of our five favourite healthy foods that will help banish the blues this autumn.

Blueberry-packed breakfast foods

Often labelled as a superfood, blueberries are sweet, low in calories, full of antioxidants, can protect your cholesterol, lower blood pressure, prevent heart disease, and even improve cognitive brain function – and of course, they’re delicious! They’re the perfect addition to breakfasts like porridge, muffins or pancakes, to help set you up for the day.

Leafy green side dishes

Leafy greens like spinach, lettuce, swiss chard, and watercress work wonders for both physical and mental health. They are a significant part of the ‘Mediterranean’ diet which research shows can lead to happier and healthier lives, as well as reducing the likelihood of experiencing feelings of sadness or depression.

Fermented foods

Did you know that foods such as kimchi, yogurt, kefir, kombucha, and sauerkraut can improve gut health and mood? Up to 90% of your body’s serotonin is produced by your gut microbiome, or the collection of healthy bacteria in your gut, so these kinds of food will not only help your gut stay happy, but also improve your mood.

Bananas

Bananas are a great way to turn a frown upside down as they’re packed with both fibre and natural sugars! When the two are put together, the sugar is released more slowly into your bloodstream, allowing for stable blood sugar levels and better mood control. Low blood sugar levels can lead to irritability and mood swings, so snacking on a banana is a good idea to help boost your mood.

Coffee

Scientists have known for many years that coffee stimulates the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which produces euphoria and pleasant feelings. However, despite coffee proving beneficial for mood boosting, remember – everything in moderation. Too much coffee can be bad for your body, causing withdrawals and headaches if over consumed!