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Eat to boost your happy hormone

As seen in The Archer

While many of us are enjoying the return to normality, having a sense of anxiety around this new freedom is not uncommon. It’s likely most of us will be feeling this to some extent and looking after our mental health is as important right now as it was back when we were in the strictest of lockdowns. So how can we continue to prioritise our mental health?

With the pace of life picking back up, perhaps your meals have returned to being quick and easy plates - not a problem, nutrition doesn’t need to be complex. Here are three key things we can focus on for mental health.

  1. Our gut acts as a major game-player in mental health by producing 90% of our happy hormone, serotonin. The gut loves variety so ensuring an abundance of plant foods can encourage optimal function. Ideally, we should aim for 30 different plant foods each week, including fruit, vegetables, herbs, beans and pulses.

  2. Healthy brain function is vital for good mental health, and our brain is made up of 60% fats, meaning prioritising health fats in our diet is vital. Healthy fats should be a small part of each meal and can be found in oily fish (sardines, salmon, trout, etc), avocados, extra virgin olive oil, nuts, seeds and good quality dairy products.

  3. Mindfulness practices can encourage the body to shift into a “rest and digest” system, where we not only calm the mind but also support the body’s digestive system. Start by simply taking 5 deep breaths prior to eating.

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