Eggs in pots

What to eat to stay healthy and happy

Nutritionist Kerry Torrens suggests foods to fend off the blues - packed with the nutrients your body needs to make serotonin, the happy hormone.

Get your daily dose of vitamin D…

Get a daily shot of sunshine with foods rich in vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin associated with better moods. It’s found in eggs, oily fish, and fortified breakfast cereals and spreads.

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Recipe suggestions:
Sardines with chickpeas, lemon & parsley
Perfect scrambled eggs
Spanish sardines on toast
Salmon & spinach with tartare cream
Baked eggs with spinach & tomato

Lay the foundations…


Pack main meals with foods rich in the amino acid tryptophan, a key building block for serotonin. Chicken, venison, oily fish like tuna or salmon, dairy foods, soya, nuts and seeds are good choices. Vitamin B6 – found in brown rice, wholemeal wheat, beans and pulses – will help your body to process it.Recipe suggestions:
Miso brown rice & chicken salad
Soy tuna with wasabi mash
Chicken & vegetable stew with wholemeal couscous
Spiced carrot & lentil soup

Banish bad moods…


If your low mood is linked to tiredness, increase your intake of iron and vitamin B3. Iron is an important co-factor for serotonin production, while your body needs vitamin B3 to access the energy from food. It’s found in turkey, fish, eggs and dairy.Recipe suggestions:
Spiced turkey burgers
Turkish one-pan eggs & peppers
Thai-style steamed fish
Superhealthy salmon burgers
Perky turkey soup

More omega-3…


Stay well-oiled! Omega-3 fatty acids in oily fish are vital for proper brain function. Vegetarians should choose a good-quality nut or seed oil such as flaxseed or chia seed oil, which are high in omega-3. Their subtle flavour makes them ideal for drizzling on salads and veg.Recipes suggestions:
One-pan salmon with roast asparagus
Warm mackerel & beetroot salad
The ultimate makeover: Full English breakfast
Hot & sour fish soup
Roast salmon with peas, potatoes & bacon
 

Snacks with benefits

Stay healthy and banish hunger pangs with one of these snacks next time you need a nibble…
 

Dark chocolate


Full of feel-good compounds and high in protective flavonoids, chocolate with a cocoa content of at least 70% has been proven to be good for the heart and help lower blood pressure. Choose a product with minimal added sugar – be sure to read labels and enjoy one or two small squares only.
 

Dried fruit


Portable and handy if you’re on the go. Ring the changes with dried figs, a fabulous source of iron, potassium, magnesium and calcium as well as valuable B vitamins. Add dried cranberries to yogurt, and snack on dates for their potassium and fibre content. Combine with a small handful of nuts or seeds for an energising, sustaining snack.
 

Have you struggled with the winter blues or do you have a secret weapon when it comes to keeping on top of the colder months? Let us know below.
 


This page was last updated on 6th December 2018.

Kerry Torrens is a qualified Nutritionist (MBANT) with a post graduate diploma in Personalised Nutrition & Nutritional Therapy. She is a member of the British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine (BANT) and a member of the Guild of Food Writers. Over the last 15 years she has been a contributing author to a number of nutritional and cookery publications including BBC Good Food.

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