Food has what seems to be an almost direct connection to our brain. We eat something and – if it’s the right “something” – our mood gets boosted almost instantly.

But what foods should you choose that increase your energy, boost your mood and are reasonably natural?

Bananas

These are completely natural.

Different cultures eat them at a different stage in their ripening process – here in the West, we tend to eat them when the skin is still yellow. In Asian cultures, that would be un-ripe. They wait for the banana skin to turn black before it’s ready to eat. We also tend to avoid the skin although it is edible, raw or cooked.

Bananas have a reasonably high potassium content and they’re high in vitamin B6.

Worryingly, there is only one variety cultivated worldwide which means that if a disease decides to attack these delicious plants, we’re likely to be banana-less. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen!

Dark chocolate

energy foodOK, this isn’t a totally natural food but, depending on the cocoa percentage you buy, it’s pretty close. It’s often allowed in otherwise strict diets because of that.

Its compounds are great at boosting your mood and you don’t need a whole bar (honest!), just one or two small squares are enough to boost your mood.

Fatty fish

Fatty fish is high in Omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon, tuna and mackerel are amongst the highest.

These aren’t quite as instant as a banana or dark chocolate (although a can of tuna comes quite close) but they’ll help boost your mood nonetheless.

Sweet potatoes

These have a high fiber content and the carbs they provide are complex which means they release slowly into your body, lifting your mood for some time after you’ve eaten them.

They’re an easy substitute for regular white potatoes and make your plate look more colourful into the bargain.

Coffee

This depends on the dose and how many extra shots of caffeine you add.

Too much caffeine will have an adverse effect on your mood although you might also be hyper from it, so your energy levels will be higher.

Everyone is different so you’ll need to work out your own reaction and tolerance to this readily available food.

Nuts

Most nuts are concentrated forms of energy, so be careful not to over-indulge.

The best nuts for energy and mood are cashews, almonds, brazil nuts and hazelnuts.

Because they’re compact, you can keep them readily to hand for when you need a quick boost to your energy and mood.

Fermented foods

And, no, I don’t mean beer – sorry.

Sauerkraut. kefir and natural yogurt are all good things to turn to when you need a lift.

Natural yogurt is easy to find (just make sure it really is natural and there’s no added sugar) but the other two are making their way into stores more often. Or you can make your own if you’re feeling adventurous.

Berries

These are naturally sweet so if you’re looking for a mood and energy boosting food that doesn’t hit your waistline too badly, they’re a good choice.

Any berry is good but ones like strawberries – even though they taste sweet – are a good idea and also low in calories.

Plus what could be better for your mood than eating a bowl of strawberries?

Apples

Another excellent fruit to help boost your energy.

The sugars are released slowly which helps keep your energy levels up for quite some time rather than the quick sugar rush we get from refined sugars.

Water

Sometimes when we’re low on energy it’s because we’re dehydrated.

Most of us don’t drink anything close to the recommended 8 glasses of water per day.

Increase your water levels – keep a glass or a bottle nearby and make sure you drink from it on a regular basis.

Boost your brain

OK, this one’s not a food but it is natural and it will boost your energy. Fast.

Listening to this audio track for just 15 minutes will give you a natural energy boost for 4 hours or more.

Try it for yourself – I think you’ll enjoy the results.