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Foods to drive away those blues!

The next time you feel a little low or jaded, don’t hit a pub to drown your sorrows. Just go eat bananas or a dark chocolate bar. Chetna Joshi Bambroo tells us more...

health and fitness Updated: May 25, 2009 20:31 IST
Chetna Joshi Bambroo

The next time you feel a little low or jaded, don’t hit a pub to drown your sorrows. Just visit a nearby grocer and buy some bananas or help yourself to a bar of dark chocolate. The reason you are feeling low may be due to depleted levels of serotonin, the ‘happiness hormone’. The intake of certain kinds of foods can help increase its levels.

“Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that regulates many of our feelings, including pain, sleep, mood and hunger. In simple words, it helps different parts of your brain to talk to each other, and inadequate amount of serotonin can lead to mood swings, sleep disorder and depression,” says Ishi Khosla, clinical nutritionist and director of Whole Foods.

The solution, she says, can be found in certain foods. “A number of food items act as mood boosters. For example, honey coated nuts, oatmeal porridge, muesli or granola in milk, yogurt and fruit are handy things that can make you feel better,” she says.

Monika Sharma, an MSc. student, says, “I don’t know about other things that can lift one’s mood, but yes, chocolate definitely works for me. Whenever I feel low, I munch on a bar of chocolate.”

Chocolate may lift your mood but not without leaving you feeling guilty about the extra calories. Deepika Malik, a wellness expert, says, “If you are worried about putting on weight, you can substitute strawberries for chocolates and nuts. Cold milk with a hint of saffron in it also acts as a mood booster.”

Jyoti Arora, HOD, Nutrition and Dietetics, Artemis Health Institute, says, “There’s no doubt that certain food items work as mood elevators, but a person should always consult a doctor if he/she has any medical complication.” Asked what is the best thing to trigger production of the ‘happy hormone’, serotonin? “Dark chocolate,” she says.

So, don’t let the blues get to you. Just make sure to add chocolate, nuts, granola bars, etc. as must-have items in your bag.

Mood foods:

* Muesli, granola in milk
* Oatmeal porridge
* Honey-coated nuts
* Jaggery-coated nuts
* Yogurt
* Chocolate
* Almond milk
* Dried fruits and nuts
* Saffron and cold milk
* Fruits like strawberry and banana