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5 Mood Boosting Foods to keep you smiling this winter!

With the autumnal season at full peak and the cold of winter knocking on the door, it’s easy to become a victim of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) – also known as the “winter blues”. The lack of natural light is the cause, recognised as an official medical condition that affects up to 2 million people in the UK each year. By kick-starting the right hormones there are few simple ways that you keep the blues at bay – starting with the food that we eat.

Nutritionists regularly recommend slow release complex carbohydrates as the go to food when you’re feeling low. The complex sugars find their way into your bloodstream gradually, helping to keep your body alert for longer. Complex carbohydrates also help to create serotonin (the mood boosting chemical) by helping to transport trytophan (the relaxation chemical) to the brain. It’s all part of food science, but it’s a lot simpler than it sounds.

Here are the Healthy Hideout’s top 5 mood boosting foods to help keep you smiling this Winter:

Greek Yoghurt

When calcium levels drop in the body, you can quickly become irritable and even depressed. Prevent this by introducing greek yoghurt into diet, as it’s packed with calcium and a high degree of healthy fats proven to help reduce stress levels. Greek yoghurt isn’t heat treated like most of the common sources of dairy that we eat day to day, so it still contains essential healthy bacteria aiding intestinal health. There’s no better start to your morning routine than a bowl a oats topped with a handful of fresh fruit and a tablespoon of Greek yoghurt. For added sweetness, add a teaspoon of organic forest honey – perfect winter morning fuel!


This exotic hard shelled dry drupe contains medium-chain triglyceride’s (MCT) that help to boost energy levels and general brain activity. Regular consumption can have a profound effect on those that find themselves feeling tired more easily.  If you can’t get hold of fresh coconut, why not look at trying coconut butter which is available from most health food stores – perfect on rye toast for a quick boost! If your out and about you may have noticed the wealth of coconut snacks and health drinks – another great energy fix.


Widely available from most supermarkets, these spear shaped stalk like vegetables are a great source of folate and tryptophan. Folate helps the brain produce serotonin whilst tryptopahn helps to aid in relaxation and promote a positive mood state. Asparagus can be particularly effective when eaten alongside a slow release carbohydrate, aiding the release into the body. Try to keep your asparagus recipes as simple as possible – tossing in olive oil, lemon and garlic before grilling is a great place to start.

Oily Fish

Packed with omega oils and essential fatty acids, fish has been proven to aid better moods and maintain high levels of mental health. The powerful combination of tryptophan, omega essential oils and energy boosting protein make fish an essential meal choice for anybody this winter. Wild Alaskan Salmon contains high levels of rich omega 3 fats, and the potent antioxidant astaxanthin – the natural mood lifter. The high nutritional value of fish make it an ideal meal choice for anyone – make it part of your diet this winter.

Dark Chocolate

Yes you read that correctly – we’re promoting chocolate to be part of your healthy diet this winter. Shouldn’t really be too hard should it? The moreish, satisfying flavour of chocolate can quickly boost anybody’s mood no matter how down their feeling. The science behind it demonstrates that chocolate is high in phenylethylamine, which is responsible for inducing a sense of elation when consumed. Blood sugar levels are sure to rise, causing your pulse to quicken and pupils to dilate. Dark chocolate containing at least 70% cocoa can have numerous health benefits, including a positive boost in your mood. Give yourself a little treat when your feeling the winter blues!

Sticking to your New Years Diet!

2011 is now in full swing, and whilst we settle into the month of February, many of us may be struggling to stick to the New Years Resolution of losing weight. However, what many of us don’t realise is just how simple losing extra pounds can be if you know what you’re doing. You could even find yourself losing up to a stone or more over the next year without even trying.

Target high calorie areas and watch as the weight falls off!

Target high calorie areas and watch as the weight falls off!

Take a look at some of the Healthy Hideout’s top eating changes that you can look to implement this year;

  • Cut out fizzy drinks – Although they provide those of us with a sweet tooth a quick fix, cutting out one can of fizzy drink a week can save up to 140 calories. This equates to just over 7000 calories a year. For a great healthy alternative, try drinking a glass of iced water with a squeeze of lemon or lime. Cool and refreshing!
  • Eggs-citing! – When cooking with eggs, it’s important to remember that a whole egg contains 5 grams of fat with no fat in the egg white. If you’re cooking something that requires two eggs, such as an omelette, why not try using one yolk rather than both. This could save you up to 60 calories per meal each week, equating to almost 3000 calories a year.
  • Popcorn – Typically associated with a trip to the theater, microwaved popcorn without the added sweeteners contains an average of just 31 calories with no fat. Compared this to the average packet of crisps which can contain 150 calories and almost 10 grams of fat. Tame your cravings and look to cut out almost 6000 calories over the year.
  • Meat switch – If your week is normally filled with 2 servings of red meat, why not try changing one of your meals to fish. An average steak can contain almost 250 calories in comparison to a serving of cod which can contain just 80 calories. Save yourself an extra 150 calories each week and look to gain back almost 8000 calories over the year.
  • We all scream for Ice Cream! – An average bowl of premium flavored ice cream can contain up to 16 grams of fat, in addition to almost 500 calories. Try switching this with a bowl of fresh fruit such as strawberries, and look to cut almost 450 calories. That’s a massive 20,000 calories a year – A figure that cannot be overlooked if you’re looking to lose a few pounds.