How to boost your mood and overall wellbeing
Are you ever feeling “flat” or “just have no energy”? Working in an Aged Care home or with young children is no easy task. The amount of care our most vulnerable Australians deserve, requires a lot of commitment and energy on our part. Believe it or not, what you are eating can impact your mood drastically. It is important to know that there is no ‘one’ way to eat. Positive lifestyle habits, exercise, family gatherings and social events all keep our mind healthy. However, research shows that certain foods can boost your mood. So, which foods may boost your mood? Let’s take a look.
How does food relate to our wellbeing?
Wellbeing encompasses the combination of good feelings and optimal functioning. Therefore, considers physical, mental, and emotional health factors. What you eat has a major influence on your stress levels, sleep quality, concentration levels, and mental wellbeing. Therefore, following a diet aligned with the Australian Dietary Guidelines can make sure we have a good headspace.
What foods might negatively impact our mood?
Have you ever leaned towards chocolate, ice-cream, soft drinks, energy drinks, bread with jam or cheese when feeling down? That’s because they contain carbohydrates which are sugars. Sugars give us a temporary energy, and increase our sugar levels in our blood rapidly. Sugar levels in our blood drop and thus our energy levels then drop. Many people experience a reduction in energy levels about 30 minutes after eating a sugary snack. While the food we eat helps provide the energy we need in our day, foods very high in sugar, may mean we have extra sugar hanging around in our blood. Packaged and processed foods contain refined carbohydrates and added sugars. Therefore, it is ideal to aim to reduce highly processed and sugary foods.
Specific foods to limit?
Added sugar: energy drinks, fruit juice, sauces, sugar confectionary, soft drinks, jams
High fat: bacon, butter, pastry, pizza, crisps
Added fat and sugar: Biscuits, cake, chocolate, doughnuts, ice-cream, slices, sweet muffins, and pastries
Reducing these highly processed and high sugar foods and drinks have shown to sustain energy and improve mental health.
What foods have a positive impact our mood and wellbeing?
If you aim to include fish, 2 serves of fruit per day and healthy fats into your diet, with this variety of foods daily, you’re on an upwards journey to great overall health!
Regularly include these foods
Healthy fats such as, avocados, nuts, and seeds
Oily fish such as, salmon, blue-eye trevalla, mackerel, herring, sardines.
Fruits and vegetables
Prebiotic foods: garlic, onion, Jerusalem artichoke, asparagus, oats, cocoa, leeks etc.
Probiotic foods: yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut, tempeh, kim chi, miso, pickles, kombucha.
What about Serotonin?
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that acts as a hormone. You cannot eat serotonin as it is synthesised by the amino acid tryptophan. It is thus important to eat foods high in protein like, fish, meat, dairy and poultry. Serotonin impacts every part of your body including, sleeping, healing and digesting. It also helps your body regulate our mood to experience anxiety, happiness, nausea, and is critical for healing wounds.
What foods can I eat to increase my Serotonin levels?
Poultry such as turkey and chicken
Soy products: soymilk, miso, edamame, tempeh, and tofu
Dairy: cheese, milk, yoghurt
Nuts and seeds
Fruits: pineapple, bananas, kiwi, and plums
Vegetables: spinach, peans, broccoli, lentils, and beans
Fermented foods: yoghurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, kombucha and tempeh
We can also boost our Serotonin levels by:
Relaxing, as stress reduces serotonin
Getting out into the sun
Feeding your gut bacteria
Don’t forget about hydration
Water contributes to 50-80% of our body weight. Water helps of bodies cells to function. Water is required for our metabolism, removing waste and so important for a healthy mind. If we don’t hydrate our bodies, this can cause dehydration. Dehydration can cause, headaches, tiredness, mood changes, lethargy, confusion, and thirst.
How much water do we need?
Men: 2.6L/day (10 cups)
Women 2.1L/day (8 cups)
Reminder: When the weather is hot or humid or you are exercising, you NEED 1 MORE cup of water.
3 Tips on how to boost your water intake:
Get a drink bottle and keep it in your bag or at your desk/workstation
Set reminders to take a sip of water every 30 minutes, aiming for 1 glass every hour
Drink water before or during every meal
If you’re not keen on plain water, try adding some natural flavour to it. Add a slice or squeeze of lemon. Or try by adding fruits such as, berries, oranges, and apples.
Our Team is here is help
Here at OSCAR Care Group, our amazing team includes executive Chefs, Auditors, Dietitians and Speech Pathologists, Food Safety Experts who have over 60 years Aged Care and Childcare industry experienced combined. We know how important your role is within an Aged Care and Childcare Centre is. If you are finding it difficult to boast your energy, reach out one of our OSCAR Care Group Accredited Practising Dietitian for individual support. We're here to support you!