Don't be blue, eat for health & happiness
Updated: Jan 20
There is plenty of evidence to support a link between our diet and our mental wellbeing. All to often, we feel tired and sluggish and tempted to embark on quick-fix diets, this approach is unsustainable for long-term health and quite frankly takes a lot of pleasure out of our day! Food is there for enjoyment as much as it is needed for nourishment. It’s totally possible to trim down whilst brightening up your January with a diet proven to boost mood.
Simple tips from mind.org.uk include eating regularly to stop your blood sugar levels from dropping; keeping hydrated to keep your mind alert and prevent constipation (let’s face it no one likes that feeling) and stop you feeling sluggish and uncomfortable, and managing caffeine intake. Caffeine is a stimulant, which means it will give you a quick burst of energy, but then may make you feel anxious and depressed, disturb your sleep or give you withdrawal symptoms if you stop suddenly.
But there are also certain nutrients which have been associated with mood along with offering other health benefits.
Omega 3, found in Walnuts, Oily fish, Chia Seeds and of course Rapeseed Oil (the main ingredient in our dressings, marinades & pesto), may have a role in brain functioning, 60% of the brain is made up of fat, similar to those found in omega 3’s and research suggests that omega 3 fats may reduce symptoms in patients with depression.
Vit B found in Wholegrains, Brown Rice, Broccoli, Spinach, avocados and salmon, is vital for brain health. For example, thiamin (vitamin B1) is involved in turning glucose into energy, vitamin B5 is needed to produce the neurotransmitter acetylcholine (involved in learning and memory), vitamin B6 helps to convert the amino acid tryptophan into serotonin, and vitamin B12 is involved in the production of neurotransmitters.
Vit D, found in Fatty Fish, Cheese, and egg yolks, is made naturally in the body when skin is exposed to the sun's ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. In the past few years, research has suggested that vitamin D may increase the levels of serotonin, one of the key neurotransmitters influencing our mood, and that deficiency may be linked with mood disorders, particularly seasonal affective disorder.
So brighten up your mood with some simple diet changes. We’ve created these delicious and simple light lunches using many of these nutrient rich, mood busting ingredients, so why not give them a go
TUNA & SWEET POTATO WITH SWEET CHILLI DRESSING
Tuna is a source of tryptophan, which is part of a protein molecule and is the precursor to our happy hormone serotonin. By combining tryptophan with carbohydrates such as sweet potato, you can boost absorption and utilisation drastically.
Serve baked sweet potato with Tuna mixed with Lincolnshire Drizzle Sweet Chilli Dressing and garnished with a dollop of soured cream. The spicy chilli cuts through the sweetness of the sweet potato.
Preheat oven to 425F. On a baking sheet, (lined with foil for easy clean-up if you wish) prick sweet potatoes all over with a fork.
Bake until tender, or until a fork inserted in the thickest part has no resistance, 45 to 50 minutes.
While the potato cooks, prepare the topping. Mix a tin of tuna with chopped red onion and 2-3 tbsp of Sweet Chilli Dressing (or enough to taste).
Let the potatoes cool a little, then split the tops open with a knife. Season with salt and pepper and top with Tuna and a dollop of sour cream if liked.
Serve with baby leaf salad and Cherry tomatoes drizzled with more sweet chilli dressing.
SPICY BEETROOT SOUP WITH CHIA SEEDS
Soup is the perfect winter warmer and makes a great replacement for high-calorie stodgy comfort food.
Soup is a low calorie yet high volume meal, meaning that it's perfect for weight management. In fact, one study in the British Journal of Nutrition found that soup eaters on average tend to weigh less and have smaller waists than those who don't eat soup!
Packed with essential nutrients, a bowlful of beets helps increase happiness with tons of folate and vitamin C. They are also a great source of fibremanganese, potassium and iron. Chia Seeds, along with the Rapeseed Oil in our dressings, are a good source of Omega3. Chia also comes with protein and fibre, both of which are thought to have satiating effects.
3-4tbsp Orange & Ginger Dressing
2 leeks, finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1¼ litres vegetable stock
1kg beetroot, peeled and chopped into 1.5cm cubes (see tip)
½ small bunch fresh dill
1 sweet eating apple, chopped
2tbs Chia Seeds
Lemon juice to taste
2-3 tbsp Horse Raddish
1. Gently heat the Sweet Chilli Dressing in a large saucepan over a low-medium heat. Add the leeks and garlic and cook gently for 10-12 minutes until very soft.
2. Add the stock and the beetroot to the pan, bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for about 45 minutes until the beetroot is tender enough to pierce easily with the tip of a sharp knife.
3. Remove the saucepan from the heat, uncover and leave to cool slightly. Add in the Chia Seeds then whizz the soup in a blender, in batches, until smooth (see tip), adding the apple to one of the batches. Return to the pan, then taste and season with lemon juice, salt and pepper.
4. Combine the Greek Yoghurt and horseradish in a bowl. Dish the soup into a bowl and serve with in a spoonful of yoghurt to garnish.
MIXED LEAF RASPBERRY SALAD WITH GORGONZOLA AND HONEY ROASTED WALNUTS
A salad packed with nutritious and tasty ingredients. The benefits of rocket includes vitamin C, K and A as well as high levels of nitrates. In fact, it provides many of the health benefits of kale, broccoli and Brussel sprouts. In addition, it contains fibre, folate, and iron and is low in calories making it a great choice to include in your diet.
Raspberries provide more than half of the RDI for vitamin C, and also small amounts of Vitamin A, thiamine, riboflavin, vitamin B6, calcium and zinc.
Dairy is one of the main sources of Vit D in our diets, and this recipe has delicious, tangy gorgonzola at the heart of it. This tasty blue cheese goes very well with the sweet Raspberry vinegar in our dressing.
Walnuts and our Raspberry Dressing give you that beneficial boost of Omega 3.
90g bag of mixed Rocket, Baby Leaf Spinach and Watercress
½ medium sized red onion, sliced
70g gorgonzola or blue cheese, crumbled
1 cup sweet chilli roasted walnuts (see recipe below)
4-5tbsp Lincolnshire Drizzle Raspberry & Mint dressing
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine the spinach, sliced red onion, raspberries, crumbled gorgonzola and honey roasted walnuts in a salad bowl.
In a small bowl, whisk the raspberry vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper until well blended.
Add the raspberry vinaigrette to the salad and toss well. Top with a few parsley leaves.
1tbsp chilli dressing
Pre-heat oven to 350 F
Mix the walnuts, honey and sweet chilli dressing together until the walnuts are well coated.
Bake for about 15-20 minutes, turning the walnuts at least once during that time
POACHED EGGS & AVOCADO
The avocado is a rather unique fruit. While most fruit consists primarily of carbohydrate, avocado is high in healthy fats and numerous studies show that it has powerful health benefits. Combined with the Sweet Chilli Dressing packed with Omega 3 and the Wholegrains in the bread, you're sure to lift your mood with this tasty lunch.
Cherry Tomatoes, halved
2-3 tbsp Sweet Chilli Dressing
1 small ripe avocado
2 slices seeded wholemeal bread
2 handfuls rocket
1.Cut the tomatoes in half and drizzle over the sweet chilli dressing, and leave to marinate for a few minutes. Meanwhile, heat a pan of water, carefully break in the eggs and leave to poach for 1-2 mins until the whites are firm but the yolks are still runny.
2. Halve and stone the avocado, then scoop out the flesh, and smash onto the bread, drizzle over with Sweet Chilli Dressing. Add the eggs, grind over black pepper and add a handful of rocket to each portion. Serve the tomatoes on the side.
BAKED SALMON & LEMON
When a bad mood hits, try a forkful of fish to feel better. This salmon dish is packed full of omega-3-filled ingredients (like salmon and Rapeseed Oil) that can help prevent symptoms of depression.
2 Salmon Fillets
2-3 tbsp Lincolnshire Drizzle Lemon Dressing
Mixed Salad Leaves
1 Avocado, peeled and sliced
Cherry tomatoes halved
Drizzle the salmon with the Lemon Dressing and leave to stand for a few minutes. Either grill for 10-15 minutes or wrap in foil and bake in the oven at 180C for 10-15 minutes or cooked to your taste.
Gently toss the salad, avocado and cherry tomatoes, in the Lemon Dressing.
Serve the Salmon fillets on top of the salad vegetables with some wholegrain sourdough bread if liked.