5 mood-boosting foods and the ASK Italian dishes to find them in this Blue Monday.
The third Monday of every January has been coined as Blue Monday since 2005. Falling post-Christmas and New Year, and paired with the grey January weather, it’s the gloomiest day of the year for the majority of the UK.
This year, Blue Monday 2020 falls on Monday 20th January. Amongst other mood-boosters and day-to-day changes, there tweaks to your diet that can be made to lift your mood. From green vegetables to sweet treats, discover five mood-boosting foods to try this Blue Monday and five dishes to find them in from the ASK Italian menu. What’s better, you can get 25% off the total bill, including drinks, at ASK Italian from Sunday to Thursday with gourmet society.
Eat: Dark Chocolate
It isn’t just its heaven-sent taste and velvety texture that makes dark chocolate so deliciously wonderful. Studies have found chocolate boosts moods, with the University College London carrying out a study that found those who ate the most chocolate were less likely to report feelings of depression than those who had no chocolate whatsoever.
This is because a small amount boosts serotonin levels, which is an antidepressant used to elevate moods, as it simulates the production of endorphins in the brain. Like any sweet treat, chocolate should be eaten in moderation alongside a healthy diet.
Find it in: The Chocolate Etna
A generous scoop of vanilla gelato sat atop an indulgent hot chocolate fondant, encased in a dark chocolate cup. A big moment for any dessert devotee – wait for the melting to commence once hot toffee sauce is poured over the dark chocolate.
We presumed it was an old wives’ tale, but there seems to be truth to the classic “Fish is brainfood” statement. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in oily fish, are key to keeping depression and low moods at bay as 60% of our brain is fat, which omega-3 fatty acids contribute a substantial amount to. They help keep brain cells flexible, making them more responsive to neurotransmitters.
Find it in: The Sea Bass Al Forno
A beautiful sea bass fillet baked alongside new potatoes, tomatoes, mushrooms and spinach, drizzled in a rich white wine sauce.
Eat: Leafy Greens
Laced with iron for energy and focus, vitamin B to boost brain function and fibre for blood sugar balance, there are numerous health benefits to dark leafy greens. Vitamin B and iron help keep energy high, increasing positivity, whilst vitamin B also keeps serotonin levels high, which in turn keeps moods high. Leafy greens, like spinach and broccoli, are also rich in magnesium, helping to reduce anxiety and depression.
Find it in: The Creamed Spinach
A silky mix of wilted spinach and cream topped with herb-seasoned breadcrumbs. The perfect accompaniment to steak, chicken or fish.
Lentils are full of folate, which is a B vitamin essential for developing DNA and the nervous system. It’s also necessary for producing serotonin, meaning a lack of folate is linked to depression. So, the more folate in your diet, the better your mood. Lentils are also high in fibre, iron and protein.
Find it in: The Spicy Lentil Ragu
A delicious ragu of green lentils and mixed vegetables, dressed in a rich sundried tomato sauce and served with spaghetti.
Like lentils, avocados are packed with B vitamin, folate, helping the body to produce more serotonin and in turn boost moods. The Omega-3 fatty acids in avocados, like the ones in oily fish, help keep our brains healthy by making brain cells more responsive. Plus, avocados are also a source of potassium, which helps to fight off fatigue and depression.
Find it in: The Insalata di Pollo e Pancetta
A salad of avocado, tomatoes, spinach, cos lettuce and red onion topped with pan-fried chicken and crispy pancetta. Dressed with a sweet mustard dressing.
Although these foods are proven to boost moods, it’s important to reach out and speak to someone if you’re feeling low. For a confidential chat, speak to Samaritans on 116 123.