Brazil nuts are one of the best sources of the mineral selenium, and studies have shown that people who are low in it have increased rates of depression, irritability, anxiety and tiredness.
How much do you need? All it takes are three Brazil nuts to get your RDA of selenium. Have them as a mid-morning snack with a banana, or sprinkle chopped Brazil nuts on salads or a stir-fry.
People who are deficient in omega-3 fatty acids may be more susceptible to depression and low mood, according to research, as these fatty acids make up a large percentage of our brain tissue. “About 60% of the dry weight of the brain is fat, with about 30% of that in the form of omega 3,” says Dr Eva Cyhlarova, head of research at the Mental Health Foundation. Eating salmon, mackerel and sardines regularly will keep your brain healthy and improves your mood by keeping brain cells flexible, so the brain’s messaging chemicals – neurotransmitters – can work more effectively.
How much do you need? At least one serving (140g) a week. Try mackerel on bread for a brain-boosting breakfast or lunch.
Oats are an effective mood booster because of their low glycaemic index (GI) – they slowly release energy into the bloodstream, which keeps blood sugar and mood stable (as opposed to providing a rush that dips quickly, leaving you feeling more irritable). Oats also contain the mood-boosting mineral selenium.
How much do you need? Half a cup of porridge is a great way to start the day. Try it with a spoonful of honey and nuts or yoghurt for added protein.