Top 10 Happy foods
By Tyson Hammond
Eating to feel good is something easy we can do to help our body and mind feel content and enjoy our lives a little more. Staying physically healthy is an essential part of keeping mentally and emotionally buoyant. One of the main things we can do to stay physically healthy is to eat good, nutritious food.
Over the next 10 weeks I will introduce you, one every week, to my Top 10 feel good foods. Foods that work to support all the different chemical reactions that happen within our beautiful bodies to keep us healthy and strong, but most of all elevate our mood!!
Number 10 – Kumara (Sweet Potato)
I love Kumara, especially roasted Kumara. It wasn’t as common in our roast dinners growing up as Yams, Parsnip or Pumpkin were but when it appeared I was stoked. Now for me, it’s replaced what the potato was in my diet.
How does it elevate your mood? Well it’s chock-a-block full of vitamins and minerals such as B-vitamins, especially B6, folate and potassium. All of which have been linked in research to elevate the mood, raising the feel-good hormone called serotonin. They also contain antioxidants, iron and betacarotene, especially the orange ones. Being rich in Vitamin B6 and folate can help alleviate premenstrual tension if eaten regularly over a prolonged period of time.
Sweet As … a Kumara. The human body is programmed from a young age to connect the sweet taste to comfort and reassurance with our mother’s milk being
sweet our first sweet comfort food. Now in many hospitals in the Western world infants are given a few drops of glucose before an immunisation jab because it’s been proven to reduce pain in 20% of the infants.
Not only does the sweet taste alleviate physical pain but also emotional pain. In the Ayurvedic tradition the sweet taste is said to promote the feeling of love
and well-being and have a grounding energy. In Traditional Chinese Medicine the sweet taste can be used to warm and nourish the body having a harmonising
effect on certain body types.
Sustainable happiness from Kumara. One thing that pushes your mood around sending you on some giant mood swings are your blood sugar levels. This is what can happen if you eat a sugary treat containing processed white flour, corn syrup, white sugar or anything that is high in simple sugars. Simple sugars meaning simple in their molecular structure, they’re also called simple carbohydrates.
Kumara is rich in complex sugars or complex carbohydrates. Therefore it takes the body longer to break them down because they’re complex in structure, releasing the energy into your body slowly. Your blood sugar levels will remain steady supplying your body with sustained energy helping you feel good, which is what it’s all about right?
Grow your own Happy Foods!! Kumara is easy to grow too and now is the time to plant it, September to Novemeber. We can grow it here in Golden Bay and I’ve heard of people growing in in coastal areas as far south as Banks Peninsula. It’s frost tender and enjoys a long hot summer … as we all do!!