Vitamin: Good temper meals and the facility of diet


FOOD gives us so much more than just food. It has the power to connect people and get us talking. In every culture in the world, food is used to celebrate and to feel good.

So when life throws us a giant curveball in the form of a global pandemic, what many of us have missed most is getting together with family and good friends to eat and share food together. The zoom link dinner just wasn’t the same.

Food is powerful stuff. Not only does it nourish our physical health, but it can also affect our mental wellbeing to make us a little happier, lift our spirits, and upset us.

Tomorrow, Sunday October 10th, is World Mental Health Day and I am excited to be part of a brilliant online event hosted by Inspire Wellbeing. From 10 a.m., Inspire will broadcast a packed day of lectures and workshops on their Facebook page.

I will meet Méabh Austin from FareShare and Nisha Tandon from Belfast Mela Festival to share our home cooking, talk about the importance of connecting with other people about food, the effects on our health and defining cultures.

:: Good mood foods

What’s your happy food? What food do you take for comfort when you have a bad day? Is it a homemade soup, your mom’s curry recipe or a large bar of chocolate?

Most of us have some idea of ​​what lifts our mood, even if it’s just a temporary improvement.

Here are five ideas to consider on how to harness the power of diet to nourish your brain and support better mental health:

1. Eat healthy fats – Research has shown that the essential fatty acids DHA and EPA found in oily fish like salmon, mackerel, herring, and trout, when combined with antidepressants, can help prevent or even treat depression. If you are a fish eater, try to eat fatty fish from a sustainable source two to three times a week. If you are a vegetarian or vegan, look out for DHA supplements made from seaweed sources.

2. Eat your greens – dark green leafy vegetables are high in magnesium, a mineral known for its calming effects. Magnesium is also found in dark chocolate, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.

3. The amino acid tryptophan is a precursor to serotonin and can help maintain a healthy balance of neurotransmitters. It is found in oats, chicken, turkey, almonds, and dairy products and is widely used in food. The active form of tryptophan, 5HTP, is available in supplement form, but must not be taken with mood-enhancing drugs.

4. Don’t skip meals. Keep regulating meals and remember to eat. When we skip meals, our bodies release adrenaline, which can make us nervous and anxious.

5. Avoid sugar and stimulants. Sugar and stimulants can trigger an initial high, followed by a corresponding drop in mood and energy levels. Avoiding caffeine and sugary foods and drinks while consuming plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, whole grains, and high quality protein is an important nutritional strategy to improve mood.

Sometimes dieting changes can feel a little overwhelming, especially if you’re feeling low or depressed, so just change one thing.

Make it easy for yourself and something you know you will enjoy and see how this feels for a week or two. Take it one step at a time.

:: Inspire’s free event day runs on Sunday from 10 a.m. on their Facebook page at