- Beat the blues with fish
Some research has indicated that people who are deficient in omega-3 may be more susceptible to depression and low mood. ‘It has been suggested that long- chain omega-3 fatty acids may affect mood due to their connection with maintenance of healthy brain cell membranes,’ says Ayela Spiro, nutrition scientist at the British Nutrition Foundation. The omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fish, such as salmon, fresh tuna, mackerel and sardines, are very important for human brain tissue, so it is wise to include them in your diet once or twice a week.
- Get a folate fix with broccoli
In places such as Hong Kong and Taiwan, where the population has a high intake of foods rich in folate, people have lower lifetime rates of major depression. Folate deficiency can cause a form of anemia, leading to persistent tiredness and lethargy, and folate is particularly important for women of child-bearing age, as it
reduces the risk of certain birth defects. So pack your diet with green stuff like spinach, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, peas and asparagus. Fortified cereals, beans and citrus fruit are also good sources.
- Be an egghead
Vitamin B12 helps to keep the nervous system healthy and works with folate to help the body produce red blood cells, vital for keeping energy-zapping anemia at bay. It’s found in meat, eggs and dairy products. And Marmite (if you love it rather than hate it), which is fortified with vitamin B12, is a great choice for vegetarians and vegans.
- Go nuts
Scientists have found that people with low levels of the mineral selenium seem to suffer more from depression, anxiety and tiredness, and suggest that raising low levels could lessen the severity of these symptoms. Brazil nuts are an excellent source of selenium and just three a day (for 2 SmartPoints) will provide you with almost half the daily reference nutrient intake, so polish off your nutcracker and get snacking.
- Pump some iron
A lack of iron can lead to anemia, leaving you exhausted, but you can top up your levels with the right food choices. Dried figs, fortified breakfast cereals, leafy green veg, baked beans and lean meat are good sources.