New research released today by Love Fresh Cherries and Opinium shows that a third of Brits (34 per cent) find it difficult to stay positive in January and 36 per cent say that their mood is worse at the start of the year compared to any other time. Similarly, the most common word associated with January was ‘grey’ (41 per cent) followed by ‘gloomy’ (39 per cent).
Considering mood-boosting activities in January, the most commonly cited thing people have done is exercise (21 per cent), eaten healthily (19 per cent) and booked a holiday for later in the year (17 per cent). However, only 7 per cent of Brits say they have eaten mood-boosting foods to help their January blues, and only 4 per cent have undertaken mindfulness in order to help them through the January slump.
Nutritionist Anita Bean said: “We all have times when we feel down in the dumps, but lifestyle factors such as eating a healthy diet containing lots of fruit and vegetables, being active, getting outside in the fresh air as much as possible and spending time with loved ones can really help to lift our moods.”
Anita tells us which foods to eat to boost your mood:
Cherries – cherries help your brain to produce the mood-enhancing hormone serotonin. They are also a rich food source of the hormone melatonin which promotes healthy sleep patterns.
Nuts – studies show that eating a handful of nuts a day can increase levels of serotonin, a hormone that makes us feel happier and decreases feelings of hunger.
Dark chocolate – contains high levels of phenols, which cause the brain to release endorphins and boost mood, but it’s high in calories so keep portions small!
Bananas – high in tryptophan and vitamin B6, essential for making serotonin whilst also containing carbohydrates, which trigger the production of insulin and raise serotonin levels in the brain.
Oily fish (e.g. salmon, sardines and mackerel), walnuts and chia seeds – contain high levels of omega-3s, low levels of which are linked with depression. Omega-3s are important for the proper function of the brain and can also have a positive impact on mood.
Pumpkin seeds – one of the best sources of tryptophan, which is the building block for serotonin (our happy hormone).
Oats – with a low glycaemic index they are a great source of slow-release energy; this will prevent blood sugar spikes and in turn stop you getting tired and moody.