Blog

The Impact of Diet on Mental Health

Yes, food really does affect your mood.

When you think about what effects your mental health, the typical answers are stress, self-esteem, and relationship issues, to name but a few, however, we often underestimate the impact that food has on our mental health. When you consider the science behind it and the growing evidence that food has a greater effect on our mental health than we give credit for, I think we could all check what we are fuelling our bodies with.

There is no doubt that what we eat has an impact on our mental health, this link has been proven repeatedly. A review of studies looking into the issue of diet and mental health found that regular consumption of a Western diet (a diet consisting of highly processed and sugary foods) increased the risk of depression (O’Neil et al., 2014). Moreover, a poor diet is proven to impact biological mechanisms that are commonly associated with depression such as impacting the immune system and altering the levels of certain brain proteins potentially leading to depressive symptoms (O’Neil et al., 2014). This further strengthens the link between diet and mental health.

Moreover, some of the factors that contribute to poor mental health, such as stress, have been proven to influence food preferences. For example, a study by Kandiah, Yake, and Meyer (2006) found that when participants were not exposed to stress they made healthy dietary choices 80% of the time compared to when participants were exposed to stress, which they made healthy food choices only 33% of the time. This highlights an issue, the fact that something like stress can lead to poor mental health, yet when we experience stress we tend to eat unhealthier options, also negatively impacting our mental health. Therefore, healthier dietary choices could break this cycle as evidenced by Ansari, Adetunji, and Oskrochi (2014) who found that when fruit and vegetables weren’t consumed on a regular basis, there was a greater association with experiencing more depressive symptoms for both males and females.

Although there is little research on a diet that has been proven to reduce the likelihood of depressive symptoms and promote better mental health, there have been studies conducted on specific foods. For example, the following foods have all been linked to better mental health when in their raw form; carrots, bananas, apples, dark leafy greens like spinach, grapefruit, lettuce, citrus fruits, fresh berries, cucumber, and kiwifruit (Brookie, Best & Conner, 2018).

I hope you found this an interesting read,

Jazzy B ❤

References:

Kandiah, J., Yake, M., & Meyer, M. (2006). Stress influences appetite and comfort food preferences in college women.  Nutrition Research, 28(1), 118-123. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nutres.2005.11.010 

Ansari, W.E, Adetunji, H., Oskrochi, R. (2014). Food and mental health: Relationship between food and perceived stress and depressive symptoms among university students in the United Kingdom. Central European Journal of Public Health, 22(2), 90-97.

O’Neil, A., Quirk, S.E., Houseden, S., Brennan, S.L., Williams, L.J., Pasco, J.A., Berk, M., & Jacka, F.N.(2014). Relationship between diet and mental health in children and adolescents: A Systematic Review. The American Journal of Public Health, 104(10).

Brookie, K.L., Best, G.I., Conner, T.S. (2018). Intake of raw fruits and vegetables is associated with better mental health than intake of processed fruits and vegetables. Frontiers in Psychology, 9(1). doi: https://doaj.org/article/956172bb66c747b1a3efbf9a4a4d9023

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Lunch, Recipies

The Best Cheese on Toast

This is definitely not your average cheese on toast, but if you love cheese on toast and fancy trying a new version, this is the one for you. I wouldn’t normally do a blog post on how to make cheese on toast, but as this taste so incredible I had to share it with you. Think of it as gourmet cheese on toast 😉

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Ingredients:

  • x2 anchovy fillets
  • grated mature cheddar
  • cracked black pepper
  • fresh basil leaves
  • finely chopped red onion
  • black olives
  • guacamole (optional)

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Method:

  1. Prep the ingredients.
  2. On lightly toasted bread place the cheese, olives, anchovy, red onion, basil, and black pepper.
  3. Grill for 5 minutes and serve with guacamole.

I Hope you enjoy this funky recipe,

Jazzy B ❤

 

Blog

Foodie Finds – December 2017

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and new year! To me, every Christmas has a different feel to it, this year it most certainly was a busy one spent with lots of family and friends…So busy in fact, I’m a bit late on posting this blog. Nonetheless, it’s here and packed full of goodies that I hope you want to give a go…

1) PHD nutrition protein bar 26829505_1777633395644245_1948590545_o

I’ve always wanted to try these bars, and I’m very glad I did. I tried the cookies and cream flavour which was so good. The macros are very good with 20g of protein per bar, and also it is low in impact carbs. For me, nothing can beat Grenade, although these are still well worth a try.

26828075_1777112902362961_1908502013_o2) Off the Eaten Path, pea and pinto bean sticks

Probably the best ‘healthy’ crisps I’ve tried. I found these in my local Sainsbury’s, they also have a good range of flavours to choose from, this pack is caramelised onion and balsamic vinegar. I love that they’re made out of something different other than potato, and plus the packaging is so cute!

3) Hike mince pie protein bar26735389_1777111982363053_1243747164_o

Personally, I wouldn’t describe this as a protein bar, it’s more like a natural fruit bar as its made mostly out of dates. Each bar contains 10.5 g of protein, which is fairly low compared to some of the others. But… If you like mince pies, then you can’t fault the flavour of this bar!

 

26772527_1777527892321462_1234427835_o4) Bulk powders honeycomb malted chocolate

One of THE best flavour of protein powder that I have tried. Bulk powders definitely need to make this a permanent one in their collection, as it tastes amazing. Unlike others flavours, this one really did taste like what it says on the packaging, it’s just a shame that it’s limited edition, otherwise I would definitely be placing another order!

5) Sweet Freedom caramel choc shake26828247_1777670438973874_1000653239_o

You know you’ve made a good milkshake when you just can’t put it down, this new product from sweet freedom is a milkshake game-changer. I love that it’s so quick and simple to make, and literally only requires you to mix a tablespoon of the chocolate into some milk. Also, it tastes even better when you forth the milk! I’ve noticed they do a banana flavour, which I will be giving a go.

 

26782094_1777673552306896_1147944537_o6) Moser Roth Salted caramel dark chocolate

Becuase what would Christmas foodie finds be without a bit of chocci involved?! Seriously this stuff is amazing, the dark chocolate and salted caramel go so well together…I think I’m addicted!

 

 

7) Wholewheat noodles 26828352_1777663452307906_1527648070_o

I picked these up from Tesco recently, and they’re fab. They only take 6 minutes to cook (either stir-fry or boil) and when flavoured well, they make the perfect addition to a stir-fry. Noodles are so great to incorporate into your diet as they are high in protein, and vegan-friendly, what with ‘veganuary’ now in full swing!

Thank you for reading,

Jazzy B ❤

Blog, Recipies, Snacks

Staple Snacks

I. Love. Snacks. I’m most certainly not one of those three-meals-and-done kinds of people…I need my snacks! On a typical day, I’ll have between 2-3 healthy snacks, which is perfect to keep me going between meals.

What with supermarkets selling hundreds of snacks that are marketed to be ‘healthy’, but in actual fact are just as good as snacking on chocolate and crisps, it can be confusing to know what is actually healthy to snack on. Although the healthy snack market is really taking off, with the likes of energy balls, baked crisps and cereal bars proving quite popular they often contain a lot of sugar, along with other nasties. My advice would be to snack on whole foods/ home made snacks wherever possible. If I know I’m going to be out for the day, I will always pack some nutritious snacks to stop the temptation of impulse buying whatever takes my fancy.

Having tried a lot of snacks out, I’ve finally managed to nail down my absolute go-to’s. In my opinion, there is something for everyone whether you’re fancying something sweet, savoury, filling or a lighter bite, it’s all here.

1. Wholemeal Toast & Cottage CheeseIMG_6993

This tastes amazing with some salt and cracked black pepper, it’s also great in terms of fibre and protein. The bread I use is Tesco’s high protein loaf which only costs £0.80, and at 5g of protein per slice, you can’t go wrong! I know cottage cheese isn’t for everyone, so instead, you could always use cream cheese. Also, if you’re wanting a lower carb option, brown rice cakes and Ryvita crackers work just as well.

2. Greek Yoghurt & BerriesIMG_7218[1]

This is such an easy snack to prepare, just add a few dollops of Greek/natural yoghurt, top with your favourite berries and you’re good to go! Of course, you can top your yoghurt with just about anything such as honey, a sprinkling of your favourite cereal, or some grated chocolate, it’s all about finding the combos that you love.

3. FruitIMG_6999

Often if the sweet cravings are calling, I’ll go for nature’s candy 😉 It’s sweet, delicious and loaded with vitamins and minerals. I eat a LOT of fruit, but in particular, I tend to snack on apples, clementines, bananas and berries.

 

 

4. NutsIMG_7221[1]

If I’m a bit peckish I’ll have a small handful of nuts, as they’re full of good fats and protein they’ll keep you feeling fuller than you’d expect. My favourites include cashews, almonds and pistachios. Also, I’ll often buy a bag of mixed nuts which will be available from many supermarkets.

 

5. Apple Slices & Nut butterIMG_7148[1]

The classic Instagram snack! I know it sounds like a strange combination to start with but once you give it a go, there’s no turning back. I slice up a Gala or a Jazz apple (of course 😉 ) and dip it into some peanut of cashew nut butter. There is so many peanut butters out there it’s just a case of finding the few that you love. I would highly recommend Pip & Nut and Meridian for their nut butters.

6. Carrot Sticks & HoumousIMG_7002[1]

Basically the savoury version of apples and nut butter, for all of you savoury lovers out there! I love trying all the different houmous’ that are available, my favourites include sweet chilli, caramelised onion, and Morrocan style houmous (hummus/houmous…who knows lol?!)

 

7. Mini Oat BowlIMG_7102

Definitely the most filling of all the snacks, but great post-workout or if you want something that will actually satisfy you. To make this snack even more macro friendly, I’ll sometimes add a scoop of protein powder and top it with a few berries or some dark chocolate. I used 30g of oats, and just enough almond milk to cover the oats in the pan.

I hope you’ve found a snack that tickles your tastebuds, and that I’ve helped there to be one less hangry person in the world 😉

Jazzy B ❤