Vitamins to boost your mood (part 2)

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Following on from my previous post giving you general healthy eating tips to boost your mood foods to boost your mood (part 1), I now move to selected vitamins and minerals that can provide specific mood boosting properties. We know that low levels of certain vitamins and minerals can affect mental health, and we know that these vitamins and minerals are found in everyday foods, particularly fruit and veg, nuts, fish and meat. The problem is that our diet is not as healthy as it could be – we rely more heavily on processed foods so our intake of fresh, nutritious produce is much lower, whilst our intake of fat, sugar, alcohol and additives is much higher. It has been estimated that the average person in the UK will eat more than 4 Kg of additives every year.

According to the Mental Health Foundation, over the last 60 years there has been a 34% decline in UK vegetable consumption with currently only 13% of men and 15% of women now eating at least five portions of fruit and vegetables per day. People in the UK eat 59% less fish than they did 60 years ago – decreasing the consumption of essential omega-3 fatty acids. There have been reports in the media over the last month that in this financial climate we are really struggling to afford to eat healthily. I have also written a post called cutting the costs that will give you some ideas on how to get your healthy foods more cheaply.

So, with the help of information from the Mental Health Foundation here is my list of the most important vitamins and minerals that have been implicated in mood and mental health disorders.

Folate – can help with anxiety & depression

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Veg: spinach, lettuce, asparagus, beetroot, savoy cabbage, bok choi, broccoli, green peas, fresh parsley, brussels sprouts, avocados, cauliflower
Fish: cod, tuna, salmon, halibut, shrimp
Meat: calf’s liver, turkey
Nuts and seeds:peanuts, sesame seeds, hazelnuts, cashews, walnuts
Beans and pulses:lentils, chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans
Fruit: oranges

Magnesium – can help with anxiety & depression, irritability, stress and insomnia

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Veg: spinach, watercress, avocado, peppers, broccoli, brussels sprouts, green cabbage, watercress
Nuts and seeds:almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, peanuts, macadamias, pistachios, walnuts, pecan, pumpkin, sunflower and poppy seeds
Wholegrains: oatmeal, bran, long grain rice, buckwheat, barley, quinoa
Dairy: plain yoghurt
Beans and pulses:baked beans
Fruit: banana, kiwi, blackberries, strawberries, oranges, raisins
Sweet: chocolate

Vitamins B3 – can help with depression and stress

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Wholegrains: brown rice, rice bran, wheat germ 
Veg: broccoli, mushrooms, cabbage, brussels sprouts, courgette, squash 
Nuts: peanuts 
Meat: beef liver, beef kidney, pork, turkey, chicken 
Fish: tuna, salmon 
Seeds: sunflower seeds

Vitamin B6 – can help with depression and stress

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Wholegrains: brown rice, oats, bran, barley
Fruit: bananas, mango
Fish: tuna, trout, salmon
Veg: avocado, watercress, cauliflower, cabbage, peppers, squash, asparagus, bok choy, potatoes
Meat: chicken, pork loin, turkey
Beans and pulses: butter beans, soy beans, chickpeas
Seeds: sunflower seeds

Selenium – can help with depression and irritability

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Wholegrains: wheat germ, brewers yeast (marmite)
Meat: calf liver, turkey breast
Fish: cod, tuna, halibut, salmon, shrimp
Veg: mushrooms, garlic, spinach
Nuts: brazil nuts
Beans and pulses: tofu
Wholegrains: barley, rye, oats, long grain brown rice
Dairy: mozzarella cheese
Seeds: mustard, sunflower

Zinc – can help with  depression, loss of appetite and loss of motivation

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Seafood/fish: oysters, mussels, shrimp
Cereals: fortified breakfast cereals
Nuts: cashews, walnuts, almonds
Dairy: mozzarella, Swiss cheese, cheddar cheese, low-fat yoghurt
Beans and pulses:chickpeas, kidney beans, baked beans, butter beans, lentils, miso
Meat: chicken (dark meat), turkey, lamb, pork, mince beef
Seeds: pumpkin, sesame
Veg: spinach, mushrooms, squash, asparagus, broccoli
Fruit: blackberries, kiwi

Failing all that, if you are in need of a nice treat, do allow yourself one to boost your mood! Why not do your good deed of the day and buy a doughnut to support the Children’s Trust this week. Please have a read of this with a cuppa Have a doughnut for the children’s trust 🙂

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