You’ve most likely experienced the way your mood can influence your food choices – just think about the foods you tend to opt for when you feel stressed or bored.
But, did you know that the food you choose to eat can also influence your mood? That’s right – there’s a strong link between what you eat and how you feel.
Below we’ve shared some of the best foods to boost mood so that you can eat your way to a happier you!
1. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds contain tryptophan; the amino acid needed to make several important hormones, including the mood regulating neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin plays a role in reducing anxiety, promoting good moods and producing the hormone melatonin to help regulate your sleep pattern.
Our favourite ways to incorporate pumpkin seeds into our food:
- Sprinkled on top of salads (check out this Roast Pumpkin Salad)
- Mixed through bircher muesli
- Stirred into yoghurt as a snack
- Homemade trail mix with nuts and seeds
Salmon is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. Research suggests people who are deficient in omega-3 fatty acids may be more susceptible to depression and low mood, as these fatty acids make up a large percentage of our brain tissue. Omega-3 fatty acids are vital for good mental health, brain function, energy production, oxygen transfer and immunity. Salmon also contains vitamin B12, which helps produce brain chemicals that affect mood. Low levels of B12 are linked to depression.
Our favourite recipes using salmon:
3. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are rich in fibre, calcium, potassium, iron, phosphorus and magnesium. Just one tablespoon of chia seeds contains 5g of fibre. They’re also rich in protein and packed full of tryptophan, an amino acid that encourages good mood, sleep and a sense of calm.
Our favourite ways to incorporate chia seeds:
- Mixed into salad dressings
- Incorporated into baked goods like muffins and loaves
- Soaked overnight in water or milk and mixed with fruit for a nutritious breakfast
Kombucha is a fermented tea drink that is rich in probiotics. Probiotics are healthy bacteria that live inside your gut. You may have heard of the gut-brain axis, which links our gut bacteria and brain. In short – our brains and our guts are in constant communication. While the research is still in the early stages, scientists have found differences in the gut bacteria of people with depression compared to otherwise healthy individuals. A diet rich in a variety of probiotics helps to increase the richness and diversity of our gut bacteria, helping to maintain healthy gut function and supporting mental health.
Every bottle of Mojo Kombucha contains 1 billion probiotics, along with other beneficial compounds such as organic acids.
Quinoa is packed with fibre and contains higher amounts of protein, compared to most grains. This means it can help to keep blood sugar levels stable – which is key when it comes to fostering a happier mood. Stable blood sugar levels can help to control appetite and reduce cravings for sugary and fatty snacks between meals.
Our favourite recipes using quinoa are:
Chickpeas contain the amino acid, tryptophan. Trytophan is converted in the body into serotonin, as mentioned earlier, which is brain chemical that can improve mood and feelings of relaxation. If tryptophan levels in the body are very low or depleted, the levels of serotonin in the brain drop, which can lead to low mood and irritability.
Some tasty chickpea recipes include:
- Cinnamon Roasted Vegetables with Yoghurt Dressing
- Chickpea and Sweet Potato Rainbow Salad
- Easy Peasy Hummus
7. Greek Yoghurt
All yoghurt is rich in protein; however Greek Yoghurt is particularly high, which means adding it to meals or enjoying it as a snack can be a great way to satisfy hunger and stabilize blood sugar levels throughout the day. Yoghurt is also rich in probiotics, which is essential for optimal gut functioning and mood enhancing benefits.
Try these delicious ideas to get more yoghurt into your diet: