Food to improve your mood

Breathe speaks to Lee Holmes: nutritionist, wholefoods chef, and author of 'Supercharged Food' and 'Heal Your Gut'

Lee Holmes is an accredited clinical nutritionist, yoga and meditation teacher, wholefoods chef and author of nine cookbooks. Lee shares delicious gut friendly and anti-inflammatory recipes via her healthy eating blog Supercharged Food

How does what you eat affect how you feel?

What you eat can really affect the way that you feel. Certain foods can trigger different moods and cause chemical and physiological changes in our brain structure, which can lead to altered behaviour.

Supporter foods such as vegetables, fish, fruits, nuts, seeds, whole grains, fibre, and good sources of protein, as well as adequate hydration, have been shown to improve mental health. Stressor foods such as refined sugar, caffeine, and alcohol may improve your mood at first, but then can leave you feeling stressed and depleted because they’re not providing adequate nutrition.

What do you do personally to maintain optimal mental health?

 To maintain optimum mental health and buoyancy I like to start each day off with a Vedic meditation session. The good thing about Vedic meditation is that you can do it from the comfort of your bed. Then I get up and make a chai – one of the highlights of my day – which has some great spices like cinnamon and ginger that can be really helpful for your gut health.

Around 11:00 am I have my supercharged smoothie. You can watch a video about how to make it here. I try and include as many colours in it as I can find in the fridge. It has a base of celery, which has great antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties, and carrot for prebiotic positives. Cucumber helps to hydrate and remove waste products from the body, and rocket is a natural antihistamine and quite alkalising for the body. Some days I or throw in some kale because it’s rich in such as potassium calcium, magnesium, dietary fibre. I always put in some fruit – generally blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, or banana, which is a good prebiotic when just underripe. I also include kefir or yoghurt which is rocket fuel for good bacteria in the gut, and I put in some collagen to help heal and seal the gut and support the connective tissue. I add a spoon of my Love Your Gut Powder which helps to clean and cleanse the lining of the gut so that you can absorb more nutrients. Finally, I add water and just blend that all up together –  it’s really delicious.

My lunch is typically a big salad with some protein and some seeded crackers, and for dinner I normally have my fill of omega three with some salmon and vegetables paired with brown rice. I try and drink water throughout the day and stay hydrated.

One of the things I try and do every day is go for a walk. I’ve been going for hour long walks through nature with my dog and that’s been really helpful.  I think exercise is a very important key to staying healthy, especially when it comes to mental health.

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