Feel-good food

Exercise through eventing is great for your physical and mental wellbeing, but here we look at adding some feel-good food to your diet.

Hippocrates said: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. For centuries, many cultures relied on food to cure all ills; Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine consider the relationship between what we eat and how we feel and we take a look at some of those foods that could help keep you feeling good throughout the eventing season. 
Honey – honey has long been used for its antibacterial properties. Manuka honey has been shown successfully to treat wounds, pressure sores and burns. It’s also soothing for sore throats when mixed with lemon, ginger and hot water.
Garlic – another antibacterial hero and, along with onion, is a rich source of sulphur, which can be great for keeping skin looking smooth and healthy. 
Whole grains – barley and brown rice are rich in B vitamins and have a calming effect on the nervous system, so are great to eat when you’re feeling stressed. 
Culinary lavender – another great stress-releiver, culinary lavender has a mild sedative effect, so if you’re in a stressful situation, add a few drops of lavender to any recipe you want to enhance. Some ones to try are water or tea, brownies, bars, cookies, dessert recipes, raw chocolate or salad dressings. 
Rose – also on the flower theme, rose can have an uplifting effect, so rosewater used in home baking can be a lovely if you’re feeling low.
Spinach – Popeye was right, spinach is rich in magnesium and is high in iron, so it’s worth getting some into your diet. A breakfast smoothie with a handful of spinach is a great way to do this.
Chilli – if you like spicy food then the good news is that chilli has multiple health benefits, too. It enhances circulation and causes the body to release endorphins and is often described as the ultimate feel-good ingredient.
Pineapple – not only is this tropical fruit associated with summer sun (guaranteed to boost your mood), but it also contains an enzyme called bromelian, which is great for aiding digestion and is also a powerful anti-inflammatory.
Of course, food cannot and should not replace proper medical care and it’s important to consult a doctor before making any changes to your diet or if there is a health concern.

Why not grow your own? Read our guide here!
A version of this article first appeared in AGA Living magazine.