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5 healthy food habits you need in your life

Science has proven that mood plays a huge role in overall health, but it’s a lesser known fact that it also can affect mood and how you feel during the day.

The food you eat greatly affects mood, focus, energy and overall mental wellbeing. Research shows that a diet high in processed foods (with added salt, sugars and fats) can lead to poor mental health and exacerbate feelings of depression and anxiety.

Joshua Gaudry, food scientist at Flannerys Organic & Wholefood Market, says that when tackling a mental health issue or just trying to improve overall happiness, it’s important to look at it holistically and address your diet.

“There are real physiological adaptations to prolonged stress, and addressing this might [help reduce] anxiety symptoms,” he says.

“If you spend your whole day stressed, with your nervous system ramped up, adrenaline pumped and heart rate elevated as if in some sort of danger, then your body, nervous system – even your muscles in your diaphragm – will adapt to maintaining that state.

“It will likely take some conscious effort and dedicated time to offset or balance out these.”

Josh shares five mood-boosting tips that you should add to your grocery list:

1. Eradicate sugar

A diet high in sugars and processed carbohydrates can worsen anxiety as it makes it harder for the body to cope with stress. Sugar doesn’t cause anxiety, but the spikes in insulin and lack of blood sugar control that comes with excess sugar consumption can put stress on the body, which leads to worsened anxiety.

2. Eat more of these foods

Eating more omega 3-containing foods such as fish, avocados, nuts and seeds can help support healthy brain function and neurotransmitter production. Magnesium-rich foods such as nuts, seeds and green leafy vegetables can help the body relax and are important to many other bodily functions. Incorporating foods rich in phytonutrients and antioxidants like blueberries, acai, cacao and maca into your diet will give your body the best chance to be able to cope with stress.

3. Look after your gut

There is more evidence showing the importance of our gut health and our gut-brain connection. We have a symbiotic relationship with our gut bacteria and it’s been shown that gut health can have an effect on mood and mental states. Increasing fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kefir and tempeh, and avoiding all the nasty emulsifiers, colours and preservatives found in processed foods, can help support healthy gut bacteria. Also eating prebiotic fibres like inulin and resistant starch can help feed these bacteria, and supplementing with a good probiotic can really help.

4. Reduce caffeine 

Anxiety is a heightened response to stress, and caffeine has been shown to worsen anxiety sufferers’ symptoms as it mimics the physiological effects of stress and anxiety.

5. Take supplements 

Important nutrients can sometimes be hard to get in adequate doses from our diet alone, especially in times of stress where they get depleted much faster. Supplementation with fish oil, magnesium supplements and herbal remedies can be beneficial for your overall health and to help with anxiety.

Herbal supplements with calming ingredients such as Fusion’s Stress and Anxiety can be helpful for people suffering from mild anxiety. Drop by in store to speak to one of our qualified naturopaths or nutritionists to discuss which supplements are right for you.

Flannerys Organic & Wholefood Market offers a huge range of fresh, healthy and organic produce, including unpackaged bulk wholefoods, no added hormone organic and free-range meat, gluten-free products galore and plenty of healthy snacks. Pop in for free naturopathic advice, vegan-friendly and paraben-free cosmetics, plus all the regular health food supplies.

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“Kindness is the language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” – Mark Twain