Can food make you happy? A great meal with friends is probably the most common response we got when we were compiling our “Happiness Is…” list to decorate Lahloo Pantry (more on our Pinterest board!). Sure, good company and the delectable flavours of a homemade meal are very important, but there’s more to it: some nutrients can truly stimulate the “happy area” in our brains. The way to happiness could be on your plate! Here are some essential happy foods:
1. Dark chocolate.
There’s science behind our favourite addiction (besides tea, that is). Chocolate contains theobromine, an alkaloid that works as a natural stimulant, and tryptophan, an amino acid that the brain uses to produce serotonin, a mood-enhancing substance.
Rich in potassium, which helps lower blood pressure, vitamin B6 and tryptophan. If you want to increase its feelgood factor, eat a ripe banana between meals. Especially good if you’re exercising hard!
If you’re grumpy first thing in the morning, here’s the perfect breakfast for you: eggs florentine and a pink grapefruit. Eggs are a source of iron that is best absorbed by your body when combined with vitamin C-rich food, such and spinach and citrus fruit.
4. Oily fish
Low blood levels of Omega 3 fatty acids have been linked to mild depression and poor mood. Eating oily fish twice a week may help you look on the bright side. To maximise the goodness of oily fish, serve it with vitamin E-rich foods, such as nuts and seeds or broccoli and green veg.
5. Citrus fruit
Bright as sunshine and with similar mood-lifting properties, citrus fruit is a great source of vitamin C and antioxidants. Vitamin C protects your body against stress and helps soothe the mind.
Yes, there’s also science behind the comforting effect of your favourite cuppa. Tea contains L-theanine, a substance that enhances your mood and relieves anxiety. So pick your favourite and enjoy!