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No, we’re not talking about eating to lose weight - we’re talking about fueling your brain for the most positive outlook possible. And it al...




No, we’re not talking about eating to lose weight - we’re talking about fueling your brain for the most positive outlook possible. And it all starts with your stomach.

Rule #1. Include fermented food daily

There’s more and more research that shows that if your gut health is off, then your mood is going to be off. If you improve your gut health, you can improve your mood and help manage anxiety and depression. To keep you stomach healthy - and your brain happy - fermented foods like sauerkraut, full-fat Greek yoghurt, kombucha and kefir are must, particularly if you’re under pressure, as stress can negatively affect gut bacteria. For optimum internal health, It’s recommendable 1/4 - 1/2 cup serve a day.

Rule #2. Four portions of seafood a week

The long-chain omega-3s found in fish and seafood are vital for a better mood. They help the brain manage stress and decrease inflammation, a rise facto for everything from depression to heart disease. The oilier, the better: Think salmon, sardines and mackerel four times a week. Don’t like fish? Grass-fed beef is an excellent source of tryptophan, the precursor to serotonin, our happy hormone.

Rule #3. Cut back on sugar

Sugar can deplete vital stores of vitamins, destroy good bacteria and send you on a mood roller-coaster. Because your brain needs glucose to fire on all cylinders, opt for starchy fruit and vegies - like sweet potatoes and bananas - to fuel up. Healthy carbs are also vital for the production of tryptophan, which is essential  to good mood and sound sleep. Oh, and eat some chocolate: in one study, three days of eating it every day helped improve symptoms of anxiety and depression. Enjoy a few squares of 85 per cent cocoa versions, or add raw cacao powder to smoothies.

Rule #4. Eat at least seven portions of fruit and vegetables a day

Seven is the lucky number when it come to wellbeing: one study showed that this is the body’s sweet spot, while research from the University of Otago in New Zealand found that eating more fruit and veg one day resulted in a better mood the next, And no, that fruit and nut bar doesn’t count: a large-scale study showed that eating whole foods over processed version was associated with a lower risk of depression.

Rule #5. 10 minutes of meditation

More than ever before, meditation is critical to maintaining optimal mental and physical health. We’re being bombarded with neural activation at a pace not previously known to our species, which means more mental chatter and that in turn means a chaotic mind, attention difficulties and unstable emotions. But even a short meditation can lower stress and tension in the body through activating the parasympathetic nervous system. Here a short mindfulness meditation technique.

➤Set yourself up in any comfortable seated position with your back straight, neck free. Rest your hands gently on the knees or lap and gently close the eyes.
➤Take three slow, gentle, deep breaths. As you breathe in, focus on the chest expanding and taking in lots of fresh air. As you breathe out, notice how as the body exhales, it lets go of tension and softens a little bit. Do that two more times. Now allow it to return to its natural rhythm.
➤Next time you exhale, allow your attention to sink down and notice that feeling of contact between the body and chair beneath you. Notice the feeling of the soles of the feet on the floor, and at the hands and arms, just resting on the legs or in the lap.
➤Notice any sounds, smells and tastes. Let them come and go in and out of your awareness.
➤Now gently bring the attention back to the body. Notice how the body feels today.
➤Start at the top of the head and then naturally scan down through the body. Notice which parts feel uncomfortable. (It’s normal for the mind to wander off at this stage-when you notice, just bring ti back to the physical sensation in the body.)
➤Start to notice the underlying mood. It’s not about judging or analyzing it - simply acknowledging it and getting a sense of where you’re at.
➤Notice the rhythm of the breath. Nothing to do. No effort required. Just watching, noticing, the natural rhythm of the breath. If you like, start counting the breaths, up until 10, then start again.
➤As you prepare to finish, let go of any focus at all. Just allow you mind to be completely free for 10 to 15 seconds. Nothing to do at all. Let the mind do whatever it wants. If the mind wants to think, let it think.

Rule #6. Spend five minutes in nature

Good news for outdoorsy types: time in green spaces makes you happier, according to an 18-year study of more than 10.000 people. Those living in urban environments with more greenery had lower mental distress and higher life satisfaction, and the effect of nature on mood can be felt after just five minutes outside. Lunch break in the park, anyone?

Rule #7. Have a social media detox

All our experts agree that human connection is essential to happiness, but we’re not talking about communication by emoji (after all, a whopping 93 percent of communication is based on non-verbal body language).

Rule #8. Get physical

Exercise is the single most important thing you can do to lift your mood - it’s been shown to improve everything from now we feel about our bodies to how we cope with stress. It’s absolutely vital to mental health because it releases endorphins, which create feelings of contentment, joy, euphoria and pleasure, and decreases both physical and psychological pain. Just 20-60 minutes of exercise is enough to see mood-boosting and physical benefits, and variety is key.