When we think of comfort food, the first things that spring to mind are salt, stodgy carbohydrate and sweet treats, right? The Urban Kitchen are on a mission to make Londoners change how they feel about food and how food can make us feel.
The science bit
There are four main things that your body needs to maintain a healthy mind, maintain hormone levels and ensure you have enough energy to tackle the daily commute, work out and still have it in you to watch a tense episode of Utopia.
Serotonin – a neurotransmitter vital for balancing your moods, regulating sleep, memory function and sexual desire and function, which in turn further lifts your mood.
Dopamine – essential for central nervous system and cognitive function and the control of emotions such as motivation and reward.
Melatonin – Your melatonin levels directly affect your sleep-wake cycle. Adults naturally have much lower melatonin levels which is why they naturally wake up earlier and have difficulty regulating their sleep patterns.
Selenium – A powerful antioxidant that is essential for thyroid hormone function.
The Urban Kitchen’s top mood-boosting foods:
Turkey – Not only is turkey very high in sleep-regulating melatonin it’s also high in protein, which makes serotonin in the brain.
Oats – Oats are low-GI, which means they release energy gradually and prevent you from crashing and burning later in the day. Oats are also a great source of selenium.
Oily fish – mackerel, sardines, salmon, herring, you name it, all oily fish is packed with Vitamin D which plays an important role in cognitive function.
Beef steak – Beef steak and other red meats are high in Dopamine, making it an ideal nutritious comfort food – just don’t pair it with chips!
Oysters – Another Dopamine-rich food, oysters improve cognitive function, making them a great treat if you need a mid-week boost to tackle a tough assignment.
Bananas – As well as being a great source of potassium, bananas are high in dopamine.
Dark chocolate – Treat yourself to 70% cocoa dark chocolate when you’re feeling low for a much-needed dose of serotonin.
Avocado – Avocados are the ultimate happy food. They’re high in dopamine as well a having the ability to regulate blood sugar levels, increase nutrient absorption and control blood pressure.