Q In winter I often feel down, with the result that I struggle to find the motivation to run. Are there any foods I can eat to pep me up?
A Minimal daylight hours and dismal weather all play their part in bringing runners down in the winter. These mood-boosting menu ideas should help.
A bowl of multi-grain hot cereal topped with skimmed milk, a drizzle of honey, some almonds and fresh pear slices.
Why? This carbohydrate-rich meal will help to flood your brain with the feel-good chemical serotonin.
Chew some sugar-free gum.
Why? Studies show that chewing gum helps to boost your short-term memory, possibly by increasing your heart rate and improving blood flow to your brain.
Drink one glass of room-temperature water hourly.
Why? Studies have shown that dehydration can challenge your energy levels. By keeping your energy levels constant you’re more likely to feel like running.
A bowl of bean soup followed by a hefty serving of plain low-fat yoghurt topped with berries.
Why? The soup is loaded with energising carbs, while the yoghurt contains whey protein, which has been shown to improve mood in individuals under stress.
A handful of nuts and dried fruit.
Why? The protein-carb combination should increase your late-afternoon alertness.
A cup of coffee.
Why? The amount of caffeine in one cup of coffee increases alertness and reduces fatigue.
Fish tacos made with grilled or oven-baked salmon and plenty of salsa and shredded cabbage, plus a portion of refried beans topped with chopped tomatoes. Finish with a serving of your favourite pudding.
Why? Omega-3 fats in fish have been shown to beat depression. As for the pudding, eating a treat that is associated with positive feelings can boost your mood.
—Liz Applegate, author of Powerfoods