UGHHH. January. I was doing ok at the beginning of the month when staying in, going to bed early and hibernating was what the doctor ordered after the excesses of Christmas, but the last two weeks of grey skies and rain has seriously started to lower my mood. So rather than ditch the family and book a solo flight to the Maldives I’m turning to nutritional advice, some great supplements and nourishing food….
Henrietta Norton is the healthy-eating guru behind Wild Nutrition, a fantastic brand of food-based supplements formulated for the body to absorb easily and use effectively. Wild Nutrition specialises in female health, largely because of Henrietta’s own amazing story (a sufferer of chronic endometriosis in her 20s, she was told she’d never have children. After seeing a nutritional therapist specialising in female health, she changed her diet and went on to have three children…) Having trained and worked as a nutritional practitioner on Harley Street, she went on to create supplements for brands, researching nutrients for seven years, before setting up Wild Nutrition five years ago. With this knowledge and awareness of how supplements and good nutrition can drastically improve your health, we knew she was the right person to tell us the foods and supplements to help beat the January Blues …..
GOOD MOOD FOODS
Rich in zinc, Vitamin D and tryptophan to boost serotonin levels. Use steamed asparagus to dip into boiled eggs as a morning mood booster.
Avocados are rich in healthy omega-3 fatty acids which have an array of health benefits for our bodies. The essential fatty acids DHA and EPA may help to improve brain function, regulate vision, and contribute to normal heart function. Not only this, but they are also used as ‘taxis’ to ferry hormones and brain chemicals as well as improve how sensitive our cells are to these messengers. For an extra boost of healthy fats, slice chunks of avocado onto morning toast, drizzle over virgin olive oil and add flakes of wild salmon.
Similar to avocado, wild salmon provides a rich source of fatty acids. Mix with horseradish and plain yoghurt to make a salmon pate for a quick mood supporting snack.
Full of protein, minerals such as magnesium, and B Vitamins needed to produce anti-anxiety brain chemicals including GABA. Use an alternative to rice or wheat pasta for managing anxiety and stress.
Lean proteins like fish and chicken provide a complete mix of amino acids required for the building blocks of neurotransmitters including serotonin and dopamine. Poultry in particular provides these amino acids.
And, the supplements to support your diet…..
Ashwagandha is an Ayurvedic herb with incredible qualities. Research has shown it to act as a GABA mimetic, effective at reducing symptoms of heightened anxiety, stress and supporting focus, and mental well-being. The KSM-66 Organic Ashwagandha that we use at Wild Nutrition has had over 11 double-blind, placebo-controlled studies that have demonstrated its ability to reduce anxiety, depression and stress by 71.6% over 8 weeks.
B vitamins are essential for energy production, for the normal functioning of the nervous system and for our body to manufacture certain “feel good” brain chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin. Good sources include whole grains, eggs, beans and lentils, a wide range of vegetables, fish and meats (choose good quality or organic meat). Taking a B Vitamin Complex can be very supportive. The Wild Nutrition B Complex Plus also includes vitamin C, magnesium.
Magnesium is essential for energy production and the production of brain chemicals. It also helps to stabilise mood that is influenced by blood sugar imbalances and is a mineral that gets quickly used up when we are stressed. The best examples are nuts and seeds (especially pumpkin seeds and hemp seeds; and hemp protein powder), buckwheat groats or flour (buckwheat is actually a seed and not related to wheat), greens such as spinach and kale, and fish and seafood. If sleep is an issue then taking an additional 80mg of Food-Grown® Magnesium at night can be a great support.
Supporting the balance of bacteria in the gut has shown significant clinical benefit for supporting mood, especially seasonally affected mood swings. Improving gut immunity with specific bacteria can both reduce feelings of anxiety as well as support our production of brain chemicals – the gut is, after all, the second brain (or some may argue it is the first). Take a Multi Strain Biotic (preferably without FOS) as well as Essential Fatty Acids through diet or supplementation – these are required to help these “friendly” bacteria stick to the gut wall and improve brain function.