Make every day brilliant with these snacks to boost your mood, says nutritionist Lyndel Costain.
1. Good egg
Feeling muddled and forgetful can easily trigger a bad mood. Eggs are a great source of choline, a building block of brain tissue, and the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is important for memory and general mental functioning. One egg provides a quarter of the suggested daily intake, and also serves up your daily needs for vitamin B12, which works with folic acid.
2. Cheer up with chocolate
The most popular mood-boosting food gives intense pleasure (better than sex, some say) which comes from the stimulation of opioid neurotransmitters. Have a small piece or two after a meal, rather than munching a whole slab when hungry. Darker chocolate is packed with antioxidants and 15% of the RDA of copper, which helps build dopamine.
3. Savour some seaweed
Treat yourself to some sushi rolls and enjoy a helping of nori – the seaweed wrapping sheets are rich in iodine and selenium, which work together to keep your thyroid hormones, metabolism and mood in peak condition. You can also crumble nori into soups, stews or stir-fries or get the benefits of konbu (sun-dried seaweed or kelp) in miso soup stock which can be found at Woolworths, selected Spar supermarkets and Chinese supermarkets.
4. Get nutty
Munch your way to happiness with walnuts, linseeds and pumpkin seeds, which are best for omega-3s and monounsaturated fats, crucial for brain cell health and neuron communication. Nuts and seeds also pack in neurotransmitter building blocks selenium, magnesium, folic acid, iron and zinc. Top up intakes with a tablespoon or a small handful as a snack, or sprinkle on porridge, yoghurt, rice dishes or mixed leaf salads.
5. Peanut butter bliss
This ultimate comfort food brims with magnesium (around 10% of the RDA per tablespoon on your toast), needed for normal brain function. One in seven of us may be deficient – the RDA is 300mg a day, so also boost yours with wholegrains, greens, fish, nuts and seeds.
6. Go bananas
This fruit provides 11% of our RDA for magnesium and 14% of the RDA for vitamin B6, which converts tyrosine into dopamine and noradrenaline. They also give us energising carbohydrate. All this virtually fat-free happiness for just 399 kilojoules!