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Bliss Balls Recipe: A Natural Mood Booster

February 8th, 2022  

How your diet affects your mood and wellbeing

Energy Balls or Bliss Balls – our recipe contains ingredients that can be a real mood booster. Did you know that your diet can have a significant impact on your wellbeing? The right nutrition can even alleviate depression, anxiety, insomnia and other mental disorders. Before we get to the delicious Bliss Balls recipe, we’ll explain the background between nutrition and the mind.

The gut-brain-axis

The gut and our brain are in constant, mutual exchange and can influence each other. The so-called gut-brain axis enables communication between the gut and the brain. Information is sent to the other organ via nerve pathways, via metabolic products of the intestinal bacteria such as short-chain fatty acids or also via hormones.

With this connection between the gut and the brain in your mind, it is not surprising that a healthy gut also leads to a better sense of well-being. Your microbiome also plays a very important role because it keeps your gut healthy and produces important messenger substances that enable communication between the gut and the brain. (1), (2)

So, if we choose our food in such a way that our intestines can tolerate it and feed the good bacteria, then we have already done a lot for our mental health.

You think you’ve never experienced how your gut and brain communicate with each other? But you certainly know the situation when you cannot eat because you are too nervous. Recent studies have also shown that chronic stress can change the composition of your microbiome. (3)

Nutrients

In addition to the gut-brain axis, certain food ingredients can also have a positive effect on your mood. For example, you may be familiar with the effect of chocolate, which releases happy hormones into your body. (4)

We have a recipe for wonderfully delicious Bliss Balls for you, which provide your intestinal bacteria with their favourite food, fibre, and can lift your mood.

Bliss Balls are the perfect snack and so tasty!

Bliss Balls: Food for a good mood

Ingredients:

  • 150g dried apricots
  • 50g cashews
  • 30g sunflower seeds
  • 60g raspberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 100g oat flakes
  • 1 tsp psyllium husks
  • 30-40g dark chocolate (at least 80% cocoa)

Preparation:

1: Chop the dried apricots into rough pieces. Chop the chocolate into small pieces.

2: Put the cashews, sunflower seeds and apricots in a bowl and pour hot water over them. Allow the whole thing to soak for about 15 minutes.

3: After the 15 minutes, the water is drained and the raspberries, oat flakes and psyllium husks are added to the soaked ingredients. Blend the ingredients in a blender or with the help of a hand blender until you have a pulpy mixture.

4: Stir the chocolate chips into the mixture and form small balls from the mixture. Optionally, the Bliss Balls can be rolled in cocoa.

The Bliss Balls should be stored in the fridge and will keep for several days.

That is why these foods are good for your mental well-being:

Cashews contain the amino acid L-tryptophan, which is needed both in the intestine and in the brain to produce the happiness hormone serotonin and can thus lift your mood. The nuts also contain a lot of vitamin B6, which is important for the health of our nervous system. If the nervous system is well, we are more balanced and sleep better. They also contain magnesium and zinc. These minerals promote our serenity and can counteract stress.  (6)

Oats are rich in vitamin B6, which is needed to produce the happy hormone serotonin and counteracts stress. Vitamin B6 is also needed to produce melatonin. Melatonin regulates our sleep. Rolled oats provide starch, which is needed for the production of some mood-regulating substances in the body. Included fibre is beneficial for a healthy microbiome (6).

Cocoa can boost the production of serotonin and endorphins and reduces the concentration of stress hormones (cortisol) in the body. Cocoa contains many antioxidants and polyphenols that are good for our brain power by increasing blood flow in the brain and protecting against oxidative damage. Eating cocoa can improve memory. Contained magnesium ensures that the nerves relax. (4), (6)

Psyllium husks provide our body with fibre and stabilise blood sugar. This can counteract stress. (7)

Raspberries contain a lot of antioxidants that protect the entire body from unwanted changes and oxidative stress. Due to the manganese they contain, raspberries can counteract depression or dementia. Regular consumption of raspberries can promote the growth of health-promoting intestinal bacteria. (8), (9)

Dried apricots: dried fruits are real nutrient bombs, as drying multiplies the content of some nutrients. Dried apricots contain many B vitamins, also known as nerve vitamins. Vitamin B5 is abundant and keeps us feeling fit. Magnesium and potassium can have a stress-reducing effect. In addition, the fruit contains many antioxidants and bioactive ingredients that ensure optimal communication of the gut-brain axis. (10)

Sunflower seeds contain a lot of unsaturated fatty acids. These can have a positive effect on inflammatory parameters in the blood and on our brain performance. Regular consumption of healthy fats can make us feel more balanced and happier and can also alleviate depression. The seeds also contain fibre and B vitamins. (11), (12)

You can find more exciting articles on our blog. Take a look here: Does the gut microbiome influence our ageing process?

You can find more recipes for your well-being in our eBook Microbiome food. Have a look: Microbiome food- Recipes for your gut bacteria

References:

  1. Capuco A., Urits I., Hasoon J.. Current Perspective on Gut Microbiome Dysbiosis and Depression. Adv Ther. (2020), 1328-1346. Doi: 10.1007/s12325-020-01272-7
  2. Jang S.-H., Woo Y. S., Lee S.-Y. The Brain-Gut-Microbiome Axis in Psychiatry. Int. J. Mol. Sci (2020), 21 (19), 7122. Doi: https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21197122
  3. Bastiaanssen T. F. S., Gururajan A., Van de Wouw M., et al. Volatility as a Concept to Understand the Impact of Stress on the Microbiome. Psychoneuroendocrinology (2021), 124, 105047. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psyneuen.2020.105047
  4. Godos, J., Currenti W., Angelino D., et al. Diet and Mental Health: Review of the Recent Updates on Molecular Mechanisms. Antioxidants (2020), 9(4),346. Doi: https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox9040346
  5. Simoloka A., Bhikha R.. Reducing stress naturally. Tibb (2016), 4-8.
  6. Belorio M., Gomez M. Psyllium: a useful functional ingredient in food systems. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition (2020), 527-538. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/10408398.2020.1822276
  7. Mohammed S. G, Qoronfleh M. W. Vegetables. Personalized Food Intervention and Therapy for Autism Spectrum Disorder Management. Advances in Neurobiology. Springer 24, 225-277 (2020). Doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-30402-7_9
  8. Govers C, Kasikci M. B, Van der Sluis A. A, Mes J. J. Review of the health effects of berries and their phytochemicals on the digestive and immune systems. Nutrition Reviews 76, 29-46 (2018). Doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/nutrit/nux039
  9.  Fatima T., Bashir O., Gani G. Nutritional and health benefits of apricots. International Journal of Unani and Integrative Medicine (2018), 2(2), 05-09. E-ISSN: 2616-4558
  10. Brito L, Tinoco B, Silveira K, Bandeira C. Healthy fats and mental Health. European Journal of Public Health 29 (2019), ckz034.032. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/eurpub/ckz034.032
  11. Pal D. Chapter 130 – Sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) Seeds in Health and Nutrition. Academic Press, 1097-1105 (2011). Doi:  https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-375688-6.10130-6

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