With the busy lives people lead in this modern age, monogamous job roles and the same routine is enough to stress anyone on a daily basis. Making it worse is the quick fix alternative of vast fast food chains steering you right in the face. The question is does this really help with coping with stress and feeling that good factor about you? There have been many scientific tests carried out to test this factor, a more recent one was a documentary (Super Sized Me) were Morgan Spurlock ate only Macdonald’s 3 times a day for a month, not only did he put on weight he was warned against damages to his liver, heart and blood if continued eating Macdonald’s to the point were family members were worried of the lack of activity he would do supposed to before. Personal Trainer Helena Philippou adds: ‘experiencing a couple of month’s unable to walk from having foot surgery I became lazy and eating anything that was available and did not take too much time to prepare.

I especially had a thirst for sugary foods this being from the medication I was prescribed. I was unable to concentrate more than 10min at a time, I felt down, un-motivated, luckily for me I am back to the clean eating routine and regular exercise, so yes I can personally vouch that eating crap simply you will feel like crap adding I know I did not feel  the good factor about myself.

Preparing your food – is it really worth it?

RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU

Preparing and organising is the key elements and yes it is worth getting into a routine say’s Personal Trainer Helena Philippou this way you not only get a good idea of what you are eating but most importantly what’s in it and believe it or not, you start enjoying cooking to the point it becomes a regular chore, so preparing the night before is a must have  but don’t panic if you are really stuck for time just swap the fast food chain and find somewhere local that does healthy food with appetising salads and foods that are cooked  or boiled just not fried. Anyone continuously eating at what you think is healthy food restaurant do some research does the food get pre heated via microwave is it cooked freshly on a regular basis? more information of the effects of microwaves on foods visit. Stick to making your own food is my strongest advice, that way you know what you’re placing inside you. I must state that a lot of restaurants that we think are healthy microwave their food; I do not recommend.

The ultimate happy diet meal plan

Another essential tool is to have a food diary, monitoring what your are eating

Time’s to the portion you eat, also adding a daily self analysis and the mood and energy you have on that day  is a great way to see what foods are agreeing with you or not with your moods. One more last advise to take on board, as mentioned with the busy life styles in this moving society we are in, we always find time to watch our favourite soaps, the point is make time for you, no one else will.

Happy Diet Tips

Often the most important meal being breakfast is skipped or replaced by a slice of toast topped with jam accompanied by tea or coffee, not only is this not filing I bet the likely chances you have made yourself  mentally a believer that you can’t stomached a heavy meal first thing in the morning  and you are likely in 3-4 hours , eat the first thing available (most likely not being very filling again, consisting in a quick boost of sugar), repeatedly throughout the day and when the evening comes that’s when the hunger pangs start and doubling the portion is the choice you have made, sounds familiar to you? This is how you gained weight. Why not add a bowel of muesli or oats sprinkled with almond milk– even add a handful of almonds. Did you know that Almonds are a great source of Magnesium which plays a large role in the developments of Serotonin, which is a major contributor to feelings of happiness and this is just one benefit. Maybe the above is not appealing to your taste buds and you prefer a traditional English as your starter, that’s alright just don’t fry it instead cook with either coconut oil or olive oil.

Or maybe you’re an omelette person, one of my favourites is:

Cooked in coconut oil with chopped mushrooms and chives cooked in coconut oil, add a couple of eggs-note: I always try to add less egg white as per egg contains 100g of protein which I explained previously in my blog the dangers of having a high protein diet, please do not interpret this as not including protein in your diet just not a high one or only based on protein consumption. Swapping that tea/ coffee for a squeezed glass of orange juice is great for vitamin C intake ensuring your immune and nervous system are catered for to fight against infections, if you prefer that coffee first thing do so as caffeine has been proven to alert a person and speed up the metabolism, the idea is not to continue consuming endless cups of it throughout  the day, instead include at least a litre of water per day to flush out unwanted toxins is the best alternative to all drinks wise..

I am not a believer of eating 3 meals a day nor counting calories

Simply because everyone is different and we all have different body types, for example a Ectomorph is the body type that can eat practically what they want without putting on weight, were the Endomorph type finds it harder to loose weight..My advise is to look at your daily time frame for instance what time you wake up normally, what kind of job you do, is it physical non physical and requires a lot of sitting at a desk? Taking a look at you lifestyle gives you an idea of what portions are required and teaches you to listen to your body when it requires food as to suppose to just snacking for the sake of it.

The happy meal guide

How can foods improve our moods? It all comes down to the brain. A healthy cognitive system is essential to regulating mood, and certain nutrients have a profound impact on maintaining normal brain function.

To date researchers have studied the association between foods and the brain and identified nine nutrients that can combat depression and boost our mood: calcium, chromium, folate, iron, magnesium, omega-3 fattyacids, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin D, and zinc.

Try one of these foods for a mid-day pick-me-up to promote long-term happiness, or to ward off the nagging worry that you forgot to lock the front door

(You did remember, right?).

The ultimate happy diet meal plan

Here is a guide and foods that contains each of these essential nutrients

Calcium:

The most abundant mineral in the body, calcium plays an important role in maintaining strong bones and healthy blood vessels, and in reducing the risk of Type 2 diabetes. Low levels of calcium may play a role in PMS-related depression in particular. (Sorry guys, we couldn’t find data on whether calcium can also regulate male fluctuations in mood). Calcium deficiency affects more women than men, so women should take special care to meet the daily requirements.

How eating it helps:

Found in a variety of sources (non-dairy included), calcium is often paired with vitamin D to help regulate mood fluctuations attributed to PMS. Since oestrogen plays a large role in calcium production, calcium consumption may improve PMS-related depression.

Food Sources of Calcium:

– Collard greens

– Ricotta (part skim)

– Yogurt (plain/low fat)

– Milk (1 cup, 1%, low-fat):

– Kale (frozen)

Chromium:

 A trace mineral found in small amounts in the body, chromium helps the body metabolize food. A lack of chromium hurts the body’s ability to regulate insulin (the hormone that regulates sugar) and may lead to diabetes-related complications like vision loss and high blood pressure.

How eating it helps:

Chromium plays an important role in increasing the brains’ level of serotonin, norepinephrine, and melatonin, which help the brain regulate emotion and mood.                                         Because chromium works directly with the brain’s mood regulators, it’s been found to be an effective treatment of depression.

Food Sources of Chromium:

– Broccoli

– Grape juice

– Whole-wheat English muffin

– Potatoes (mashed)

– Turkey breast

Folate:

Folate  (alternatively known as B9 or folic acid) helps the body create new cells and supports serotonin regulation. Serotonin passes messages between nerve cells and helps the brain manage a variety of functions, from determining mood to regulating social behaviour.

Folate deficiency can cause fatigue in addition to lowering levels of serotonin.

How eating it helps:

A pair of power nutrients, Folate and B12 are often paired together to treat depression. By itself, Folate has the added benefit of boosting the efficiency of antidepressants.

Food Sources of Folate:

– Spinach

– Black eyed peas

– Asparagus

– Brussels sprouts

– Avocado

The ultimate happy diet meal plan

Iron:

Iron plays an important role in the body, from transporting oxygen to supporting energy levels and aiding muscle strength. Low levels of iron can lead to feelings of fatigue and depression. Iron deficiency appears more frequently in women than men, especially women of childbearing age.

How it eating helps:

Consuming enough iron will help prevent iron anemia (not enough iron), a condition that commonly affects women more than men. Keeping enough iron in the body is important, as the fatigue, apathy, and mood change associated with the Iron deficiency can often lead to depression.

Food Sources of Iron:

– Fortified oatmeal (instant)

– Soybeans

– Lentils

– Beef Ribeye

– Turkey (dark meat)

Magnesium:

Magnesium is a mineral that plays over 300 roles in maintaining and protecting the body’s health. Deficiency can cause irritability, fatigue, mental confusion, and predisposition to stress.

How eating it helps:

Magnesium plays a large role in the development of serotonin, which is major contributor feelings happiness. Due to its ability to help regulate emotions, it’s a common element in homeopathic remedies for balancing mood.

Food Sources of Magnesium:

– Almonds

– Spinach

– Cashews

– Peanuts

Omega 3:

Omega-3 is an essential fatty acid that plays an important role in brain health and contributes up to 18 percent of the brain’s weight. The body does not naturally produce Omega-3s, so the fatty acid needs to be consumed from outside sources. Deficiency symptoms include fatigue, mood swings, memory decline, and depression.

How eating it helps:

Studies show a correlation between consumption of fish with high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids and a decreased risk of depression and suicide.

Food Sources of Omega-3:

– Chia seeds

– Atlantic Salmon

– Chinese Broccoli

– Atlantic Herring

– Spinach

Vitamin B6:

Vitamin B6 helps the production of neurotransmitters (which send messages from the brain to the rest of the body). Deficiency in B6 can cause short-term anemia; long-term effects include a weakened immune system, confusion, and depression.

How eating it helps:

Consuming vitamin B6 is essential for regulating brain function, which influences our emotions. In addition to regulating healthy moods, Vitamin B6 is also an effective method for treating premenstrual depression. Whether eating fish or snacking on chia seeds, increasing your intake of omega 3 fatty acids may help combat depression.

Food Sources of B6:

– Chickpeas canned

– Yellow fin tuna

– Salmon

– Chicken breasts (1 piece, skinless and boneless)

– Fortified breakfast cereals

Vitamin B12:

B12 is an essential element that aids in the creation of red blood cells and nerves. Low levels of B12 can cause short-term fatigue, slowed reasoning, and paranoia, and are associated with depression. Vitamin B-12 is found naturally in meats, eggs, and animal byproducts, meaning vegetarians and vegans have an increased risk of developing a deficiency.

How eating it helps:

Because moods depend largely on signals from the brain, B12 plays an important role in regulating depression consuming enough vitamin B12 allows the body to synthesise a group of nutrients critical for normal neurological function.

Food Sources of B12:

– Rainbow Trout

– Sockeye Salmon

– Swiss Cheese

– Mozzarella Cheese

– Tuna (canned in water)

The ultimate happy diet meal plan

Vitamin D:

Vitamin D helps regulate cell growth, plays an important role in maintaining the immune system, and (when paired with calcium) protects bones. Studies show that low levels of vitamin D are associated with depressive symptoms in both men and women. Most often, lowered levels of Vitamin D are the result of indoor lifestyles, limited sun exposure, and inadequate intake of vitamin-D-rich foods.

How eating it helps:

If you’re feeling blue, increasing vitamin D could help ward off depression. Consuming the mood-regulating vitamin is important, especially during the wintertime when light from the sun (a natural producer of vitamin D) is limited.

Food Sources of Vitamin D:

– Egg (1 large, with yolk)

– Salmon

– Swordfish

– Chanterelle Mushrooms

– Milk

Zinc:

Zinc is found in almost every cell and plays an important role in supporting a healthy immune system and helping the body protect the gut from damage. Low levels of zinc in the diet can lead to a variety of ailments, including a weakened immune system, loss of appetite, anemia, hair loss, and depression. Vegetarians need as much as 50 percent more zinc than non-vegetarians due to the body’s lower absorption rate of plant-based zinc.

How eating it helps:

Studies have identified zinc as an important factor in decreasing depressive symptoms, as the vitamin can improve the response of antidepressants while reducing the side effects of anti-depression medication. A lack of zinc can trigger depressive behaviors, so load up on zinc-rich foods to balance your mood.

WatchFit Experts change lives!

And they can do the same for you.

Expert:

Pollyanna Hale Health and Lifestyle coaches
Lost 13 Kg in Total
Mel, 32y Location: London, United Kingdom Working with Pollyanna changed everything. I lost 13kg, got toned and have more energy than ever! Get same results!

Expert:

Chriz Zaremba Fitness Consultant
Lost 45 Kg in Total
Chris, 50y Location: London, United Kingdom Lost 45kg after the age of 50 and now competes and wins physique competitions and runs marathons Check our weight loss plans