To be happy and healthy your body needs to be nourished with foods that optimise the release of “Happy Hormones” and support your immune system.

We need foods to stimulate the production and release of Serotonin, Dopamine, Endorphins and Oxytocin. These are the neurotransmitters / hormones who boost our moods and reduce irritability, anxiety and depression. It is no coincidence that these foods are same foods that improve our body’s immune functions, to keep us generally healthy.

The foods that inhibit the production of our happy hormone are the foods we probably instinctively know are bad for us, but often crave when we are feeling flat and unhappy. If you are feeling feeling flat, try to avoid foods with processed fats and refined carbohydrates, cut out the caffeine and alcohol. Try and focus on consuming balanced light meals particularly at night.

1. Blueberries

Berries are the ultimate immune boosting food. Rich in Antioxidants that help regulate your mood, improve memory and protect our brain from aging.

Higher consumption of berries has been associated with better mental health and avoiding depression; as they have an abundance and variety of beneficial flavonoids and phyto-nutrients.

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Apple and blueberry overnight oats

  • 2 grated apples
  • 1 1/2 cups whole oats
  • ¼ cup shredded coconut
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ cup chia seeds
  • 400mls coconut cream & 400mls water
  •  ¼ cup natural yoghurt or coconut yoghurt

Mix all ingredients together, cover, leave an hour or in fridge overnight.

Serve with toasted coconut flakes, almonds, cinnamon, blueberries or your favourite seasonal fruit, granola and or extra yoghurt.

Heat it up for a more traditional porridge. This will serves 6 and or last for up to 5 days in the fridge.

 

2. Carrots

Carrots are one of the most popular vegetable and yet often an undervalued. They are high in beta-carotene, which is known to boost and protect our immune system and support a healthy nervous system.

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Ribbon Carrots

I love carrots cut or peeled into ribbons and lightly steamed, so they still have a little crunch. Then tossed with freshly squeezed orange juice, olive oil and honey. Or for a bigger flavoured dressing, use the garlic and ginger dressing recipe below.

 

3. Nuts

You only need 5-10 nuts a day to benefit from their great combination of immune boosting nutrients. Nuts have vitamin E, selenium and B Vitamins. They also have a great balance of protein, fats and fibre; and are one of the best sources of Tryptophan, which is critical to produce serotonin (the happy hormone).

Nuts are best eaten raw but who can resist slow roasted nuts.

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Sweet and spicy nuts

Heat fan force oven to 120°C. Melt 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and mix in 1 tspn of cinnamon, 1/2 tspn mixed spice and 1/2 tspn of salt. Stir in 400g mixed nuts: almonds, Brazil nuts, walnuts, hazelnuts and cashews. Drizzle over the honey, spread over a baking sheet and cook for 20 minutes.

Remove from oven and drizzle over another tablespon of honey, then return to oven to cook for further 15 minutes.

Cool completely before storing in an air tight container to grab when you need a pick-me-up.

 

4. Leafy Greens and salad greens

The darker the green, the more Chlorophyll they contain, which contains loads of vitamins and minerals. Especially the nutrients to keep you healthy and stimulate your liver to maintain the detoxifcation processes.

Of course the lighter and popular salad lettuce also contains valuable amounts of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

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Garden salad

  • 1/2 red onion or 2 spring onions
  • 5 radishes
  • 1 carrot
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 2 ripe tomatoes
  • ½ cup of mug bean sprouts
  • 1 red eating apple
  • Salad leaves – cos lettuce, rocket, baby spinach

Salad dressing

  • 3 tabs extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tabs lemon juice
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Sea salt, black pepper
  • Fresh salad herbs – parsley, chives, basil

Peel and thinly slice the onion, trim and slice the radishes. Then peel and chop all salad vegetables: carrots, cucumber, tomatoes and apple to no larger than to sit on a fork.

Discard tatty outer leaves from the lettuces, separate the leaves and chop the lettuce leaves smallish pieces.

Add everything to the bowl and toss well.

Dressing: Roughly chop the larger salad herbs, leave smaller one whole. Put olive oil, lemon juice, salad herbs, salt and freshly ground pepper in a small jar.  Secure lid and give it a good shake.  Drizzle dressing over the salad and toss to coat.

 

5. Beetroot

Well known as a blood purifier and blood builder beetroot is also bursting with minerals, antioxidants, and has immune boosting and detoxifying properties.

Beetroot also has the benefits of lowering blood pressure, boosting your stamina and fighting inflammation. Which all help you to feel better and improve your wellbeing.  Make it workth your while and cook up a big bunch and use through the week in lunches and dinners.

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Honey roasted beetroot

Cut 500g of beetroot in halves, put into large pan of water, simmer for 20-25 mins minutes until just tender.

Remove from pan and cool so you can handle. Peel off the outer layer of skin, this will just come off with your fingers. I wear rubber gloves to do this!

Heat the oven to 200°C. Cut each beetroot into 4-6 wedges and arrange in a large roasting tin. Mix together 2 tspn of thyme, 2 tspn balsamic vinegar, 2 tabs olive oil, 2 tabs honey, salt and pepper. Pour over the beetroot and toss together so all the beetroot is thoroughly coated.

Roast for 25 mins until the beetroot is sticky and glazed.

Remove from the oven and drizzle over a tspn of extra honey, then return to the oven and cook for a further 10 mins.

 

6. Garlic

Garlic strengthens the heart and blood, has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties. It is also thought to help lower blood pressure. A key nutrient is Allicin, which also has cancer-fighting potential. To achieve the medicinal benefits (not just the flavour) you need to eat it raw!

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Garlic and ginger dressing

Mix together 1 tab grated ginger, 2 crushed cloves of garlic, 3 tabs lemon juice, 3 tabs of olive oil and salt and pepper.

This is my favourite dressing, I use it on fish, green vegetables and quinoa salad.

 

7. Fish

Eat more fish. Mounting evidence says that omega-3 fatty acids (found in abundance in fatty fish such as salmon, herring, sardines, and tuna). Omega-3’s may help ease your anxiety and depressive symptoms, improve concentration and is great for your skin.

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Baked salmon with roasted vegetables

Salmon is the favourite fish for many families. My favourite way to cook salmon is to pan fry fillets to release the fat off the skin. Then lay the fillets on a large piece of baking paper. squeeze over lemon juice, sprinkle with crushed garlic and chopped spring onions.  Close the baking paper tightly or cover the pan securely. Cook for 8-10 minutes depending on the size of your fillets.

 

8. Lentils

Lentils, (and beans and pulses generally) are high in fibre, folate, magnesium, protein, calcium and iron and are low in calories. All so essential for our body to perform well. And they are so easy and versatile to cook with!

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One pot roasted pumpkin and lentils

  • 1 red onion, cut into thin wedges
  • 1tsp each of ground cumin and coriander
  • 2 tabs olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tspns of grated ginger
  • 400g tin of crushed tomatoes
  • ¾ cup vegetable stock
  • 800g jap pumpkin, peeled and cut into small pieces
  • 400g can lentils, drained and rinsed or cook your own dried puy lentils
  • ½ cup mint leaves
  • ½ cup coriander or parsley leaves

Preheat oven to 240°C. Place the onion, pumpkin, oil and spices in a roasting tray and toss to coat. Pour in the stock, cover and cook for 15 minutes.

Remove cover, add the lentils and cook for a further 10 minutes. Top with mint and parsley. Serve with green vegetables or salad. Serves 4

 

9. Water

We need water to produce energy, it is essential for skin cell integrity/production, as well as clearing impurities from your skin, blood and lymph. It is also needed to flush out toxins from kidneys. The purer the water the better, adding in lemon, bitters or your favourite herb is fine too.

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water for hydration, skin health and detoxification

 

10 Herbal teas

Keep a range of different teas in your pantry because for every ailment, or mood there is a herbal tea to work its’ magic. Herbal teas are made from the flowers, leaves, fruits and roots of plants.

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Camomile tea

  • Ginger tea for its purifying and therapeutic effects
  • Peppermint tea will refresh and calm you
  • Dandelion root to detoxify and replace coffee
  • Camomile to soothe, relax and strengthen your stomach and body.

 

These are some of my favourite Feel Good Foods, they may include some of your favourites too. What I love about being a Nutritionist is discovering what people really need to be well nourished. Each client I see has different needs depending on their particular health concern, budget, cooking skills and tastes. If you have a complex or chronic health condition you may also have more complex eating behaviours that also need to be considered.

If you would benefit from an individualised health and nutrition review and individual nutrition program please give me a call on 0417820292 or book in online

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