Is it just us, or has the weather really taken a particularly chilly turn this week? With the clock change on the horizon (30th October), we are soon to be plunged into darker evenings. The warm clutches of summer already seem like a fond, yet distant memory and waking up is already becoming far trickier than it was a few weeks ago! So, we thought it’s time to have a look at how you can boost your mood in the office – using everyone’s favorite medicine, food.
‘Mood’ is a tricky and ambiguous term and is often influenced by many, many factors. One moment we will be bouncing off the walls with happiness and positivity, and the next we will be wandering round the office, dragging our heels with no motivation. Why do our brains torment us so?!
Of course, eating certain foods won’t allow you to push-back a deadline and it certainly won’t make your commute any faster, however, it can help you feel more awake and healthy – which consequently has a knock on effect on your overall mood. Paying a little bit of attention to your diet (especially in the winter months when everyone feels a bit glum and tired by waking up/getting home in the dark), can have a significant impact on your health and general behaviour.
A modern day lifestyle generally leans towards being on the unhealthy side; quick food choices, long working hours, technology-based evenings (TV, computer, phone, gaming consoles, tablets) and a general lack of time. All this can have a direct knock-on effect to your diet. Our default food-choices are often unhealthy when struggling with the pressures and stresses of life. Meals are quick, easy and full of sugars and fats – many even turn to relying on ready meals and takeaways to save even more time.
Below are a few simple steps which can be taken, to assist improving your mood and overall health!
Although there isn’t a food that has been labelled as ‘mood boosting,’ there are several foods that are known to have a positive influence on your mental and physical resilience.
Feed your brain!
Yes, you’ve guessed it, Omega-3 is the key to this one. It has been proven that a lack of Omega-3 fatty acids in the brain is associated with mental decline – this is not good. Omega-3 is generally found most prominently in oily fish, so is a common deficiency in most adults. Eating more oily fish or taking supplements not only improves your brain function, but it can help protect your heart and prevent any inflammation caused by nasty foods and a bad diet.
Buying fresh produce is always better than frozen (where possible). Also, the more colourful the fruit/veg the better. Colourful food (note: good food!) is made up of phytochemicals which contain many vitamins that have positive effects on your body when they react with each other, the more variety the better.
Whilst buying supplements can assist with a diet change, they won’t do much on their own – so try and stick to gaining the vitamins straight from the source if you can.
It’s all a balancing act!
Maintaining a balanced diet (combinations of carbohydrates, healthy proteins and vegetables) helps maintain and regulate blood sugar levels. We want to avoid steep peaks and troughs which give us mood swings and ‘hanger’ (hunger and anger). When we become ‘hangry,’ all we want to do is dive into a pool of cake and cookies, as such foods release a ‘happy hormone’ called serotonin. Whilst this is good for a quick fix, it will only make the after-effects worse…the serotonin will soon dissipate and the ‘hanger’ will become worse. Replacing these sweet foods with wholegrain carbs (don’t wince at the word carbs-I saw you), will do the same thing, but carry more nutrients and longer-lasting effects.
Why don’t you refer to our tick-list and see how your diet compares:
1 – Do you skip meals?
This isn’t a good way to lose weight (if that is the goal) and it isn’t healthy. It will do nothing for your ‘hanger-management’ and slows your metabolism.
2 – If you’re going to snack, snack right!
Snacking isn’t always a good idea, but if you snack on the following; you’re doing it right! Brazil nuts, dried apricots and linseeds all contain good fats and acids. If you really want to treat yourself – stick them together in a yummy-ball using low-fat peanut butter!
3 – Fish-around!
Boost your oily fish intake whenever you can. As already mentioned – it is full of Omega 3, which has numerous benefits. A mackerel salad or mixed fish and veg stir-fry will always go down a treat – even if it does make the office stink.
4 – Whloe’don
Stay away from white breads, rice and pasta. Eating wholemeal is the only way to go; pitta bread’s and oatcakes are a great lunch alternative to white-bread sandwiches.
5 – Mean, green, health machine
Green is your friend when it comes to veg. Wholesome dark green vegetables such as spinach, kale, watercress and broccoli are a great source of nutrients and iron. A small piece of lettuce in a full-fat chicken and mayo sandwich doesn’t count here. Sorry guys.
6 – Zest is best
Citrus fruits are rich in Vitamin C, this boosts the absorption of goodness in your body and is also a yummy, sweet snack! Win-Win!
Information sourced wholly from: http://www.lecnutrition.co.uk/Tags: food, healthy, office, Pier Recruitment, recruitment
This post was written by Emma Jones