Nourish Your Spirit | Foods that can Brighten the Mood By Jaime Slavin #nutrition
We all know that February and March can feel dreary and long as we await the spring awakening. While there are many fun activities that we can do during these months, there is something about eating delicious comfort food that elevates our mood. Here are a few foods that not only lift our spirits but are nourishing too!
Citrus Fruits: The second you cut into a citrus fruit their essential oils begin to permeate the air. Take this moment, before biting into the fruit, to take a few deep breathes in and out. The natural oils from these uplifting fruits are a sensory experience that too often get taken for granted. After you have treated yourself to the mini-aromatherapy session, enjoy the sweet and sour tang of citrus that will instantly give you an energizing boost as well as an immune boost. Try a variety of citrus, such as the common orange, grapefruits, and clementines, or opt for more unique varieties such as satsuma, blood oranges and pomelos.
Soups: Making a big pot of soup on a weekend is a great wintertime activity. Not only does it fill your home with the delicious aroma of whatever soup you are creating, it also fills your fridge or freezer with leftover soup for the week. Making your own bone broth is an extra step you can take if you want to make something extra restorative. Either way, soups and broths are very good during the cold winter months where we might feel like we have a foggy head. The steam and the warmth that the soup brings as we eat is excellent for clearing out our sinuses, which can help our head feel more clear.
Oatmeal: A comforting classic, there is nothing like a warm bowl of oatmeal on a cold winter’s morning. Jazz up your bowl of oatmeal with a few more spirited ingredients such as bursts of berries (organic, frozen berries are optimal this time of year), a sprinkling of cinnamon, and cacao nibs to add that extra pop of energy. Oatmeal is not only amazing as a breakfast, it’s a yummy snack to have in the evening if you are craving something more substantial. Oatmeal increases levels of serotonin which is a mood stabilizing neurotransmitter and can help induce a better night’s sleep. If you make your oatmeal with almond milk or any other nut or seed milk, you are helping to enhance your serotonin uptake.
Hot cacao: Notice the cacao not cocoa. The difference between the two is how much processing or roasting the cocoa bean has been through. You want an unroasted bean to ensure the largest amount of antioxidants for your health and your mood. There is nothing more uplifting than a warm mug of hot chocolate that happens to be health promoting. Start with your milk of choice (be it organic milk, dairy free nut milks, coconut milk, rice milk, oat milk, etc.) and place it in a saucepan. Gently warm and then whisk in cacao powder and whatever other flavouring you’d like to add. I happen to think maple, vanilla and cinnamon are excellent choices. Whisk all ingredients together and sip out of your favourite mug.
JAIME SLAVIN is a nutritionist, registered dietician, masters of public health, food educator and advocate for your health and wellbeing jaimeslavin.com