Mealtime changes to improve your wellbeing

Nutritionist Rob Hobson explains the simple diet changes you can make that will improve your wellbeing

Mealtime changes to improve your wellbeing

Eat regularly
It’s important to eat three nourishing meals daily to support your health and give you the energy you need to perform your daily tasks. Meals should include plenty of veggies, protein, fibre-rich grains and healthy fats, all of which will supply sufficient vitamins and minerals, as well as promoting fullness and balancing blood sugar levels between meals. This may be easier said than done if your mood is low and affecting your motivation, which will likely put food somewhere at the bottom of the list of things to focus on. If you skip meals, this means missed opportunities to nourish the body with essential nutrients that in some cases may give you a zap of energy such as iron (required for red blood cell production) and those required to maintain a healthy nervous system and convert food into energy, such as the B vitamins and magnesium.

B vitamins
This group of vitamins help to keep your skin, hair and nails healthy. These vitamins are also required to maintain a healthy nervous system and convert the food you eat into energy to be used by the cells of your body. This group of vitamins are abundant in many foods so eating a wide range of unprocessed foods and especially wholegrains, beans, pulses, cereals, green leafy vegetables, meat and fish will keep you topped up.

Feel good hormones
Serotonin is a chemical in the brain that helps to regulate mood and is made with the help of an essential amino acid called tryptophan, which must be obtained from the diet. Foods rich in tryptophan include poultry, seeds, bananas, oats and soya beans. Carbohydrates help with the uptake of tryptophan, as the hormone insulin encourages muscles to take up other amino acids clearing the way for tryptophan uptake to the brain. Try eating a carbohydrate- rich meal in the evening a few hours before bed to encourage relaxation and promote drowsiness.

Keep a ‘Food and Mood’ diary
One way to see how certain foods are affecting your mood is to keep a ‘Food and Mood’ diary, noting what you ate and how eating that food made you feel both emotionally and physically. Often looking back at these journals makes an interesting read as you begin to identify your own relationship with food and how it affects the way you feel. This will give you the opportunity to take positive steps towards changing certain food choices to help gain control over your emotional and mental wellbeing.

Magnesium
This mineral is abundant in the body and has a relaxing effect on muscles and the mind. The National Diet and Nutrition Survey has shown that 13% of adults have insufficient intakes of magnesium1. Clinical Deficiency is not common but low levels can still result in anxiety and tiredness, which affect mood.

You can boost your levels of magnesium by eating foods such as dark green leafy vegetables, seeds, nuts (especially cashews), raw cacao and dried fruit. Ryvita Crunchy Rye Breads also contain a source of magnesium and work well with a multitude of toppings for a light meal or snack.

Rob is the author of the best-selling book, The Detox Kitchen Bible, and is currently working with Ryvita and Davina McCall as part of their Positivity Panel to inspire women to #getmoregood in their livesFind out more here.


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