Which Food to Include:
Beans and Pulses:
One cup of chickpeas provides 85% of your daily B6 and helps to create melatonin which regulates our body clocks. Low B6 can cause trouble concentrating, and can cause irritability, nervousness and sadness. Add mixed beans to a chilli to give you a boost of vital nutrients.
I would recommend beef because it contains omega 3, iron, folate and B12. B12 produces crucial brain chemicals which regulate our mood and iron helps with better overall function. Eggs are a brilliant powerhouse of nutrients; eggs contain choline which is needed to make neurotransmitters and cell membranes which are key for learning and memory.
Enjoy a green tea. Green tea may improve brain function, reduce anxiety and improve memory as it contains a collection of bio-active compounds such as L-theanine which works together to increase GABA, which positively influences our mood.
Finally, dark chocolate contains potassium, fibre, magnesium, zinc, iron and flavonoids. The flavonoids can increase energy, focus, mood and memory. A square or two of dark chocolate a day can increase feelings of calm and contentment and help to beat depression.
Which Foods to Avoid and Why?
Refined Carbs and High-Sugar Items
Refined carbohydrates are derived from natural whole foods. Whole grains are complete seeds, but once the grain is broken down by processing, it has been refined, and the more this happens the more refined it is and the less fibre in included. Examples of refined carbs include white bread, breakfast cereals, bagels, cakes, white rice, waffles, noodles, flavoured yogurt, fruit-only smoothies, crisps and sports drinks.
Types of processed foods include minimally processed foods that are slightly processed to increase their shelf life. These include pasteurisation, fermentation, freezing, vacuum-packing and refrigeration. Culinary ingredients are also classed as processed as well as foods which have added sugar, salt, or fats. Ultra-processed foods include foods with added colours and preservatives to preserve taste, texture, and shelf stability. Examples include sugary drinks, crisps and cookies.
Trans Fats and Rancid Oils
Trans fats are made by processing vegetable oils. This changes the chemical property of the oils, allowing for longer shelf life. You can often find trans fats listed within emulsifiers, which are additives that help foods stick together. Trans fats are also labelled as partially hydrogenated oils or fats. Trans fats are typically found in margarines, vegetable oils, cakes, doughnuts, pastries, ice cream, bread and fast food.
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