Mood boosting foods

5 foods to enhance your mood, naturally

Feeling down? Food plays a vital role in how you feel and has the ability to influence your outlook on life. Try these natural mood-boosting foods to help you take…

Feeling down? Food plays a vital role in how you feel and has the ability to influence your outlook on life.

Try these natural mood-boosting foods to help you take the day on with a new lease on life!


These tiny brain shaped nuts are one of the best mood foods. Walnuts contain vitamins B6 and E, folate, anti-oxidative polyphenols, and omega-3 fatty acids which are neuroprotective. Walnuts also contain melatonin (the sleep hormone), which may aid in a better night’s sleep.

Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) – a type of omega-3 fatty acid found in walnuts – has been shown to boost mood, fight oxidative stress, and improve cellular energy levels!

Dark chocolate

Chocolate is often a go to snack for when you’re feeling down, but the delicious treat works on how you’re feeling in more ways than one. The cocoa bean (Theobroma cacao) – chocolate’s primary ingredient – is rich in theobromine, flavanols, and polyphenols, which aid in enhancing your mood.

To reap the full mood enhancing benefits of chocolate, opt for a few squares of dark chocolate with a 70% or more cocoa content, try a homemade hot chocolate made with cacao powder and non-dairy milk, or sprinkle some cacao nibs on your morning porridge or smoothie bowl.

Chia seeds

An amazing source of mood boosting omega-3 fatty acids, as well as protein, fibre, calcium, and iron. Chia seeds also contain magnesium – also known as nature’s relaxant – which has been shown to alleviate symptoms of stress and anxiety.

The amino acid tryptophan is also found in chia seeds, and has the ability to aid in relieving sleep deprivation. Tryptophan is responsible for producing hormones and neurotransmitters like serotonin, which plays a crucial role in fighting anxiety and producing melatonin.  


Legumes like lentils, chickpeas, and beans contain folate, vitamin B6, and zinc, all of which are great for improving your mood and fighting stress. Getting an adequate amount of zinc is particularly important if you have adopted a plant-based diet.

Stabilising your blood sugar levels throughout the day is essential for promoting a more relaxed mood. Legumes provide your body with slow releasing energy, preventing you from crashing mid-afternoon. They are also bursting with fibre, which promotes good gut health and in turn lift your spirits.

Fermented foods

These are increasingly being touted as superfoods in the health sector, and for good reason! Fermented goodies like miso, sauerkraut, tempeh (fermented soybeans), coconut yogurt, and kombucha are beneficial due to their probiotic features. Probiotics promote good gut health by eliminating pathogens, promoting a healthy intestinal balance, and creating a favourable environment in the gut for the proliferation of good bacteria.

The gut-brain connection has long been explored, with gut health directly impacting your mood. Incorporate fermented foods into your diet by starting the day off with coconut yogurt, fruit and granola, using tempeh in curries, and sipping on warming miso soup.

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Published: 09/04/19

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