Treat dipping moods with these hits
It’s three in the afternoon and you’re fading fast. Energy slumps, irritability and the overwhelming need to just curl up and take a snooze are commoner than you think. You might not know it but there are times in the day when your energy ebbs and you need SOS help to perk up again. Here are six foods that are a fuss-free way to banish low energy and recharge your batteries.
A common cause for energy dips is dehydration. If you run out of steam regularly it could be caused because of lack of adequate liquids. The best way to up your water intake is of course drinking more of it. But a tastier way to do this is by increasing your intake of fluids and foods rich in water. Some great water-rich fruits include watermelon, cantaloupe melon, oranges and strawberries
The reason fruits pack such a punch is because they not just contain more water but are also a great source of natural sugars that boost energy. They’re also choc-a-bloc with energy-boosting vitamins and minerals including vitamin C, B6 and folic acid (oranges, kiwi, papaya and guava), and B vitamins (bananas), beta carotene (peaches and mango) and antioxidants (berries and pomegranates). Folic acid and tryptophan found in bananas are especially beneficial for people suffering from the blues.
How to eat them
Whip them up in a smoothie or make a fruit salad. Top the salad with chaat masala and lemon juice for a tangy treat.
A fishy pick up
Any doctor will tell you that fish oil is replete with polyunsaturated fatty acids that are crucial for brain functioning and cardiovascular health. Low levels of omega 3, 6, 9 fatty acids are common in depressed people and studies indicate that upping your tri Omega intake can actually have the same effect as mood-elevating antidepressants. They also help people suffering from anxiety disorders.
How to get it
If you’re not a fish eater, popping an Omega complex pill like Nature’s Bounty Flax, Fish, Borage 1200 mg is the easiest way to get your daily fix. Fish lovers delight. Eat it in a variety of curries, salad, sushi and bakes. Eat smaller fish like mackerel, bhangda, sardines and shrimp to reduce the amount of mercury you ingest.
Royal saffron delights
It’s an expensive spice with aphrodisiacal and mood uplifting properties. Popular in Middle Eastern, Spanish and Indian cuisine it’s also called zafran. For centuries it has been used as a nerve-calming medicinal incense in Tibetan healing practices. Studies have shown that capsules of 30 mg saffron were more effective at lifting depression than a placebo and were as effective as Prozac, a popular anti-depressant.
How to use it
Throw in a couple of strands in a pot of Kashmir kahwa. Or add to Indian desserts like kheer and halwa. Those with a taste of the Mediterranean can add it to chicken and fish preparations or Spanish paella rice dishes.
Ambrosia of the Gods
Depressed people often reach for a square—or two—of chocolate and not without reason. Studies show that chocolate contains serotonin (the feel-good hormone), chemical compounds that boost levels of dopamine or the happy chemicals in the brain. The sugar too has an uplifting effect, so now it’s official. Chocolate is good for you!
How to get it
Have a cup of hot chocolate when you feel low. A few sips and the world suddenly seems bearable. Have a few squares of the dark variety. Indulge in a piece of that chocolate cake or dig into a tub of choco-chip ice cream
St John’s Wort
A yellow-flowering plant, it’s been used for centuries as a medicinal cure-all for depression. In a 2009 review of 29 international studies, St. John’s Wort was considered effective as a treatment for mild to moderate depression. Research suggests its works by preventing nerve cells in the brain from reabsorbing chemical messengers like dopamine and serotonin.
How to use it
With caution! While it’s effective, St. John’s Wort can cause have serious side effects, and interferes with prescription medications like antidepressants and birth control pills. Always consult a doctor before taking it.
An ode to carbs
Finally, we know that much vilified carbohydrates can actually improve your mood. They help the brain produce serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates moods. Dr Judith J. Wurtman, PhD, and author of The Serotonin Power Diet, proved that when carb-starved volunteers drank a high-carb beverage, they showed measurable improvements in mood, concentration and energy levels. At peak hunger times—usually between 3 and 6 pm, she advises healthy people to a have a sweet/starchy snack of about 120 calories.
How to get it
Think a whole wheat sandwich with some jam or porridge with raisins or a bowl of low fat yoghurt with a spoonful of honey. Within a few minutes you will feel your spirits lift.