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Are you irritable in the mornings when that alarm clock goes off yet find yourself clock-watching and counting sheep at night?
Many people struggle with stabilising their sleeping pattern and don’t connect the importance of food to their mood.
The Hour’s food psychologist Dr. Christy Fergusson has found that different foods can help give you that all-important boost in the morning and aid with your sleep at night.
Adding the way your food is consumed and tackling the types of food eaten can help conquer both issues, as Dr. Christy explains with her low-down on how to get the most from mood foods.
Boost your energy levels:
1. Support healthy digestion
Healthy energy production starts with a healthy digestive system. If you eat lightly and stop as soon as you begin to feel satisfied then you will need to eat more frequently.
This places less of a burden on your digestion and makes you feel lighter and more energetic.
You can increase your intake of gentle forms of fibre with foods such as golden linseeds.
2. Eat low-glycemic load foods
Low glycemic load food gives your body sources of longer lasting energy and helps avoid spikes and drops in your blood sugar levels.
Good examples of low-glycemic load foods are berries such as strawberries, raspberries and blueberries
3. Eat whole grains whenever possible.
Whole grains are one of the best sources for the full spectrum of key vitamins for energy generation, especially the B-vitamins.
A good example of wholegrain food is wholegrain spaghetti.
4. Eat a good source of protein
Include a good amount of protein within each meal, especially during the first half of the day.
Good examples of protein include eggs and fish.
5. Eat foods rich in antioxidants
Vitamin C is critical to cellular membrane health as it plays an integral role in recycling vitamin E back to its active form and protecting the mitochondria (our energy powerhouses) from potential damage by free radicals.
A good example of vitamin C include papaya and chilli peppers.
Adjust your evening meal for a restful sleep:
Sleep is influenced by our levels of serotonin. Eating foods higher in carbohydrates raises our blood insulin level as they are digested quicker than proteins or fats.
This allows an increased transport of amino acids to our brain, including tryptophan, which leads to more brain production of serotonin and increases the likelihood of a good night's sleep.
1. Emphasis low-to-medium glycemic load carbohydrates such as brown basmati rice, mixed green salad or vegetables
2. Include a small portion of healthy fat-containing foods such as olive oil or nuts and even some chamomile or peppermint herbal teas.
3. Try and eat your evening meal about four hours before going to bed to ensure that your main digestive effort is finished.
4. If you do need a snack a couple of hours before going to bed then a small carbohydrate-based snacks such as wholegrain bread with a little almond butter or a small cup of herbal tea and a small serving of fresh fruit or even a small handful of raw nuts or seeds are most desirable as these include both a little protein and fat.
ADD THE SPRING BACK INTO YOUR STEP: