The Coping Kete

No. 18: Eating Mood Foods

This week, to attain, maintain or regain my sense of wellness …

I will eat at least one Mood Food every day to give myself the essentials that my body needs to operate effectively and regulate my emotions.  By setting my body up to respond well to stress, I will build my resilience to distress – I will have the energy and resources I need to cope.  By paying mindful attention to eating foods that are good for me in this way, I will be engaging in the practice of valuing myself.  I could also use this as a chance to explore new foods and recipes.

Mood Foods contain magnesium, selenium, B-vitamins, folic acid, tyrosine, tryptophan and zinc, among other things.  These vitamins and minerals are involved in low energy, concentration, insomnia, irritability, confusion, anxiety and low motivation.  There is an excellently detailed list of foods to incorporate in the Nutrients Table at www.mentalhealth.org.uk.

In the Engage Booster Group, we circled the foods we liked or might like on the Nutrients Table and then found ways of incorporating them into one meal a day.  Everyone who tried it noticed a difference in the way they felt two weeks later, even though nothing in their environment had changed. The group decided to try to continue with this for another month and see what happened.

Some Good Mood Foods:

  • Brazil nuts – 3 brazil nuts a day meets all of your magnesium and selenium needs.
  • LSA: A combination of ground linseed, sunflower seeds and almonds that can be sprinkled over most foods to add magnesium, selenium, tryptophan, zinc and B3 content to whatever you are eating. Or just eat whole almonds and sunflower seeds.
  • Bananas – these are a power food, they contain so many essentials and all of the essentials we named above.
  • Blackberries, Pineapple, Kiwifruit
  • Peas, Spinach, Broccoli
  • Salmon, Tuna, Mussels – for omega-3 oils, folic acid, B vitamins and zinc.
  • Olive oil
  • Brown rice, Wholemeal pasta, Wholemeal bread – wholegrains contain Folic Acid, magnesium and important B vitamins.  They also provide you with longer lasting energy and make you feel full longer than processed grains.
  • Plain yoghurt, Parmesan Cheese, Cheddar Cheese
  • Miso soup – zinc and tyrosine: you can also cook with miso, it’s a soy-bean extract.  Marmite is a good source of tyrosine too.

Once I’ve gotten comfortable eating and using these foods, I will add ‘Eat and Prepare a Mood Food’ to my Personal Coping Kete as a way of shifting my mood and engaging with resilience when I am feeling distressed.

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