Following sensationalist Netflix docu-thrillers and click-bait news articles, the word ‘nootropic’ brings connotations of smart drugs and questionable study aids. In reality, a nootropic substance can be anything that affects our brain. And that includes many every-day foods that affect our mood, attention and mental energy. Just consider your morning cup of coffee.
At Motion, we are committed to improving your mental performance and reducing your stress levels. But the end goal? The end goal is inner peace and happiness. By feeding your brain for good and stable mood through the day, you’ll shield yourself from mood swings and crashes. As a result, you’ll build stronger and healthier relationships with those around you, creating infectious waves of happiness.
Which foods can improve your mood?
Here are 5 foods in season right now in July, which can have a positive impact on your mood.
Sure, you can get canned sardines all year long. But you can’t beat a freshly caught, grilled sardine – and it turns out the best time to eat fresh sardines starts in July. Sardines are low on the food chain, meaning you’ll stay clear of heavy metals. A little goes a long way when it comes to your mind: sardines are one of the best sources of DHA omega-3 fatty acids, which will help stabilise your mood. Enjoy with a generous gulp of extra virgin olive oil for some additional antioxidants and fatty acids.
(Looking for a list of omega-3 rich fish? Remember the SMASH-T acronym)
At this time of the year, you can pick up bundles of fiery big-leaf rocket from the market – not the small, bland baby leaves in supermarket bags. The larger, fully grown variety is heavy in folate, which is essential to the formation of good mood neurotransmitters (such as serotonin).
Fresh garlic should be available through the summer, and if you’re lucky, you can get your hands on young garlic bulbs – delicious in fresh summer salads. Eaten in generous French serving sizes, garlic is an excellent source of vitamin B6 – an essential element for mental energy. Not only that, there is a collection of anecdotal evidence that garlic can help alleviate anxiety and depressive symptoms. Although clinical research is lacking, this sounds like a tasty addition to a mood-boosting lunch. Just remember to freshen up your breath before your afternoon meetings.
Available all year round, UK grown fennel reaches peak nutrient density in June-September. Fennel can help improve your mood in several ways. First, it is a soothing digestive aid – meaning less stomach cramps, bloating, acid reflux and even constipation, which are all bad for your mood. Second, fennel is a good source of melatonin, which can help regulate and improve the quality of your sleep. Finally, fennel contains moderate levels of B6, folate, magnesium and manganese, which all contribute to healthy mental performance.
A quintessential British summer fruit, gooseberries are our local answer to vitamin-packed citrus fruits. Very high in antioxidant vitamin C, a cup of gooseberries delivers a surprising mood-boosting, anxiety-lowering benefit. Gooseberries are also an excellent source of fibre, which will help regulate blood sugar levels for stable mental energy through the day. Strawberries and melons are equally excellent sources of vitamin C, and are also in season in July.
Bringing it together: mood-boosting summer lunch recipes
This quick lunch time meal ticks all the boxes when it comes to the mood-boosting nootropic capacities of food. It is high in omega 3s, B-vitamins, vitamin C, folic acid and should be easy on the stomach. If you’re off gluten, simply swap out the sourdough bread for your complex carb of choice.
Planning a weekend lunch in the sun? This cooling dessert will satisfy your taste buds while fuelling your brain. The gooseberries pack the vitamin C, and if you go heavy on the mint, you’ll get a good dose of manganese, too. Tip: prepare the granita with half the amount of sugar, and add extra upon serving only if required.