It’s here again, the most depressing day in the calendar. I would suggest staying away from people who annoy you next week, because 21st January is nigh and one comment that someone says might just push you over the edge…

Image from www.bda.com.

Image from www.bda.uk.com.

Those lucky ones with a job were paid early ready for Christmas; others who are jobless are depressed about how much Christmas cost them this year. New Years resolutions are starting to collapse and that ‘winter weight’ just will not shift. This makes you reach for the Pinot and drink your way into 2013, with a ‘if I can be merry it’ll be alright’ outlook on life.

It has been said by many a psychologist that the third Monday of every New Year causes an avalanche of self-doubt, as well as an increase in the sale of wine and ‘I’ll only have one square’ chocolate.

However, there is light at the end of the tunnel! The British Dietetic Association have released dietary tricks and tips for a healthier and happier mood. This group of people is a professional association for registered dietitians across all of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

A spokesperson from the association, Priya Tew, says “When you eat and what you eat has a big impact on how you feel.”

So, if you want to feel good on this Blue Monday, have a look at the following tips:

  • Skipping meals leads to low blood sugar levels which can leave you feeling tired, grumpy and craving sugar, so plan regular meals and small snacks to avoid these danger points in your day.  Choosing foods that have a lower glyacemic index will help fill you up and sustain your energy levels for longer as they your blood sugars stay stable.  Try adding beans and lentils to dishes, choose ‘oaty’ dishes like porridge or muesli and add a low fat yoghurt to your lunch.

  • Whole grain carbohydrates increase the amount of tryptophan than enters the brain, resulting in more mood enhancing serotonin being produced, so Priya suggests including wholegrain bread, pasta, oats, and wholegrain cereals in meals. Try adding pearl barley to soups and bulgur wheat to salads.
  • B vitamins play a vital role in energy release, therefore eating more of these will help improve your energy levels, lifting your mood.  121 Females taking a thiamine supplement reported improved mood, a clearer head, increased energy levels and better cognitive function.  Folate is another micronutrient that has been shown to be linked to mood through blood samples taken from 58 men.  Eating more wholegrain cereals, green vegetables, sunflower seeds, cashew nuts, almonds, strawberries, tomatoes and peppers will boost your thiamine and folate levels.

Cashew nuts

  • Iron is well known to be linked to fatigue and low energy.  It’s lesser known that there is also a link to poor mood and concentration.  Topping up your iron will boost your mood throughout your day.  Make sure to include red meat, dried fruit, green vegetables and wholegrains in your diet.
  • The Mediterranean diet contains plenty of fruit, vegetables nuts, fish, olive oil, cereals and some red wine.  Eating these foods is associated with better mental health scores.  So make sure you are meeting the 5 a day recommendation for fruit and veggies, have wholegrain cereals and stick to healthy fats such as olive oil, oily fish and nuts to keep your brain in top shape.

Perhaps it’s not too late to make one last resolution for 2013 after all!

For more information on diets and nutrition, visit the BDA website at www.bda.uk.com.

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