Tame your Food Dragon – Boost your Brain!

The above picture is my attempt at drawing an untamed dragon. We all have them and they are nasty as they leave scars in your way of life and affect your health. For example I love dark chocolate but if my food dragon is untamed I’ll binge on way too much per day and feel jittery and bloated and that’s a whopping 500kcals added to my daily intake in just one day of weakness. A tamed food dragon (or any other identified major habitual tendency in your life) brings you so much strength and confidence into your life. Instead of reflecting and seeing scars you will be writing a food diary and rejoicing in no time! What are your dragon scars telling you about your habits? Write them down asap and start to work on them!

Here is some inspiration to tame your food dragon! 3 Meals to boost your brain and stabilise your mood! based on a list of 12 foods to eat to manage depression, anxiety, mania and bipolar.

As a nutritionist interested in the affect of diet on ones body and mind I have read a lot of papers that back up the claims made by Bipolar UK’s excellent #letstalkaboutbipolar awareness campaign. I take no credit for creating the list, that kudos goes to the good people who work for that great charity.

Of course optimum nutrition for the mind is very important for everyone and we only have to look at ancient dietary advice from India where the therapeutic Sattvic diet was developed to try and steer people into eating fresh wholesome foods that did not have an agitating or depressive effect on the mind. Therefore even if you do not suffer from any of the above symptoms you will benefit from adding these great foods into your diet.

If you are interested in booking a one to one to help identify and tame your dragons please visit the classes page for more information.

Here is the list of foods expertly put together by Bipolar UK. I have also added a little bit of extra information at times to help boost your inspiration!

  1. Avocados.
    1. The monounsaturated “good” fats help to keep receptors in the brain sensitive to serotonin, a neurotransmitter thought to boost mood.
  2. Beans.
    1. Pinto, chickpea (garbanzo) and mung are the greatest sources of Vitamin B9 (folic acid, or folate). Studies have shown that a body that lacks folic acid has a higher than normal level of the amino acid homocysteine, which is a condition that has been linked to bipolar disorder. If you follow optimum nutritionist Patrick Holford’s work you will see that homocysteine is linked to many health conditions and can be used as an indicator for risk of Alzheimer’s.
  3. Brazil nuts
    1. An excellent source of the mineral selenium and several studies have linked low selenium levels to low mood. It is well know that selenium levels in soil are lower than they used to be which impacts the abundance of this mineral in sources like flour.
  4. Chocolate
    1. Rich in a variety of mood-lifting ingredients (including phenylethylamine, a neurotransmitter that appears to relieve depression symptoms) that are most concentrated in dark chocolate. Some studies have also shown that the power anti-oxidants found within cocoa acts as an anti-inflammatory and chronic inflammation is also linked to depression.
  5. Cottage Cheese
    1. Not only is it a good source of Vitamin B12 but it also contains plenty of whey protein, which has been shown to decrease anxiety and irritability.
  6. Fruit.
    1. All of it is good! But Vitamin B6 rich bananas are known to build serotonin levels. All fruit also has an abundance of polyphenols, a powerful antioxidant.
  7. Liver
    1. Very rich in vitamin B9 which converts carbohydrates to glucose. Glucose is the brains preferred source of energy. High blood sugars also contribute to mood swings and inflammation.
  8. Salmon
    1. Rich in omega 3 fatty acids vital for the brain and the anti-inflammatory pathways and EPA and DHA are difficult to find outside of fish, algae and seaweed. The body can convert other forms of omega 3 but it is not very good at it. Salmon is also rich in protein and tyrosine, which the body uses to create two mood stabilising neurotransmitters, dopamine and noradrenaline.
  9. Spinach
    1. Rich source of vitamin B9 but it is also full of vitamins C, E and and antioxidants and even has Iron in it. A high proportion of the UK’s population are thought to be deficient in Iron.
  10. Sunflower seeds
    1. Rich in vitamin B9. One handful will give you more than half of your daily recommended amount of folate and magnesium.
  11. Tofu
    1. Protein that can be found in tofu has been found to lower cholesterol which can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. It is also a good vegetarian source of protein the bodies building blocks to create neurotransmitters for the brain such as serotonin and dopamine.
  12. Walnuts
    1. Cholesterol free, low in fat, filled with vitamins B6, B9, E and protein. Walnuts also boost omega 3 fatty acids and antioxidants.

Meal 1 – Roasted Salmon with Garlic Buttered Leeks
35 minutes. Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 cloves of garlic
4 leeks
1 lemon
4 salmon fillets
Black pepper
Butter
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt
Thyme

Meal 2 – Chickpea Waldorf salad with Apples, Celery, Grapes and Walnuts

30 minutes. Serves 4

Ingredients:

4 sticks of celery

142g baby spinach

2 gala apples

1 tin of chickpeas

1 cup of plain Greek yogurt

250g red grapes

1 cup of walnuts

Apple cider vinegar

Black pepper

Dijon mustard

Honey

Salt

Meal 3 – Creamy Chocolate Almond Smoothie with Banana and Avocado

10 minutes. Serves 4

Ingredients:

Unsweetened almond milk

1 avocado

6 bananas

Cinnamon 

Cocoa powder

Natural almond butter

Pure maple syrup

Salt

Can you come up with an inspirational meal to share? Leave a description or link to it in the comments section at the bottom of the page.

If you are interested in booking a one to one to help identify and tame your dragons please visit the classes page for more information.

Thank you for reading please link and subscribe if you enjoyed it or found benefit!

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