In 1993, I had an episode of mental illness, resulting in admission to a hospital psychiatric ward, I began researching foods to help my mental and physical health. I spent hours, plowing through library books, my main mode of research was trial and error – with some good experiences, some not so great. I recorded my trials and tribulations for over two years and continue to use original findings to this day for my wellbeing. In 1993, I was living in Australia and must confess, I frequently overlooked my hydration levels, even slight dehydration made my mental and physical energy levels slump. Whatever the climate, it is important to drink plenty of water or keep hydrated with unsweetened beverages, Further hydration comes from eating fresh fruit and vegetables with re -hydrating foods that absorb their cooking water – pasta, porridge, rice, and soups.
By fulfilling food cravings and avoiding diversions, I found huge benefits with foods high in B-vitamins and magnesium and discovered that my cravings for warm milk, tinned salmon, eggs, and bananas (to name a few) were well founded, as these are good sources of the amino acid Tryptophan, which produces the ‘feel-good’ brain chemical Serotonin. Some foods relieved fatigue and others lifted my mood and eased anxiety. I enjoyed a variety of Herbal teas, porridge oats, and lean meats and drank warm milk with honey in the evening, plus plenty of H2O.
Here is my list of top 25 foods for an energy boost and mood lift:
Is a great source of protein and Tryptophan, with its live bacteria yogurt has many health benefits, including improving digestion which may indirectly help fight fatigue and increase mental function.
NUTS & SEEDS
Are high in Tryptophan, are a high source of fibre, vitamins, and antioxidants, for a calmer mind, elevated mood and a lasting energy boost.
Is rich in amino acids, packed with protein and provides folate, magnesium, phosphorus and manganese to boost stamina.
FLAXSEED (and Oil)
Provides essential fatty acids Omega–6 and Omega-3 for enhanced brain function.
Cereal and bread are an excellent source of fiber, the slow absorption keeps blood sugar and energy levels steady.
Are a complex carbohydrate, providing protein and energy for the body and brain, resulting in improved mental focus and increased stamina.
Are a cheap and effective source of fibre, extremely nutritious and, an excellent source of fuel for energy.
Has been used since ancient times as a mood changer, providing Tryptophan to help the mind and body relax and also provides an instant energy boost.
Such as turkey, pork, lean beef and chicken are good sources of protein and vitamin B-12. These meats provide Tyrosine, an amino acid that promotes mental clarity and alertness.
Aka ‘the happy plant’, is high in folate and a great source of tryptophan for a release of serotonin to elevate the mood.
Is a powerful antioxidant and has anti-depressant properties, helping maintain healthy brain function and increasing physical energy.
Is a fabulous ‘brain food’, providing oxygen to the brain cells and is high in Omega-3’s, which help neurons move easily throughout the brain. Salmon, tuna, herring, sardines and mackerel help balance the mood and sustain high energy.
Are a good source of natural fat, needed to help absorb nutrients from food to boost energy. They are a high source of B vitamins –the ‘stress and energy’ boosters.
Are complex carbohydrates with very high fibre content, they provide iron, magnesium, vitamin C and vitamin B-6 for high energy and improved cognitive brain function.
Are a rich source of protein, healthy fats, and minerals involved in energy production – these include, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc. Zinc is necessary for the production of hormones that affect mood and energy levels.
Are an excellent source of energy, added to yogurt or in smoothies for breakfast they boost metabolism for stamina.
Are simple carbohydrates, providing a quick burst of energy.
Calm the mind and boost stamina, providing glucose for increased energy and Tryptophan for the production of Serotonin.
Are TOPS – Blueberries, cranberries, mulberries and blackberries are a fantastic source of antioxidants and polyphenols, they are low in sugar but high in fibre, reducing fatigue and increasing mental and physical energy levels.
LEAFY GREEN VEGETABLES
Are packed with micronutrients, fibre, and vitamin C. Spinach contains tyrosine which improves mental alertness and vitamins, minerals, magnesium, and tryptophan. Leafy green vegetables are extremely high in iron, potassium, and magnesium – playing a vital role in producing energy and maintaining balanced blood sugar levels.
Are one of the best slow-releasing foods for converting food into energy, they are highly nutritious and contain B-vitamins for a healthy mind and body.
DARK CHOCOLATE (minimum of 70% cacao)
YES! Good news – chocolate contains Tryptophan J a little bit of dark chocolate can boost your energy and mood.
Are a highly nutritious, a great source of protein and Omega-3, they are rich in vitamins and minerals for a healthy brain and are an excellent energy food.
Are packed with nutrients and phytochemicals, they are a rich source of vitamins A and C, reduce exhaustion and fatigue and help build up stamina.
Each blend provides their individual health benefits, taken either as tea or in food. Many garden herbs contain huge amounts of antioxidants, increase stamina and have anti-anxiety and mood lifting properties. My favourites were Lemon Balm, Chamomile, and Ginger & Lime.
KICK START your morning with a healthy breakfast or smoothie of fresh fruits and vegetables for energy and a better mood throughout the day.
EXERCISE is important for overall health and wellbeing. When you make the effort, it is energizing and mood changing – it’s amazing the difference even a short walk can make.
Eat Well, BEE Healthy and BEE Happy
Disclaimer: This article is based on my personal experience and research. What worked for me, may not work for you. I am not a doctor or dietitian and the information here is not intended to treat or cure any disease. Please do not stop substitute, or stop taking prescribed medication, or alter a specific diet plan recommended by your doctor or wellness professional. If you suffer with clinical depression or feel you are not coping in any way at all, I urge you to consult your doctor or seek professional advice.