6 Foods to Boost your Mood

The World Health Organisation recognises World Mental Health Day on the 10th October every year. In the wake of the pandemic, mental health is an important issue the world over. No-one has really emerged unscathed emotionally, and we need the help and support of the professional community as well as learning coping mechanisms to support ourselves.

The relationship between nutrition and mental health is well known. Our mood can be influenced by many factors, such as stress, environment, the weather, poor sleep, nutritional deficiencies and more. However, certain foods have been shown to improve overall brain health and certain types of mood disorders.

While it’s easy to turn to sugary snacks or oily crisps to give you a quick fix, these foods won’t benefit your body in the long run.

Instead, try these healthy foods to boost your mood.

Dark Chocolate

Research indicates that antioxidant-packed dark chocolate may increase serotonin levels and protect against cognitive decline. As if we needed another reason to have a daily dose of chocolate. Remember to keep it to a block or two though else those extra calories may have the reverse effect on your mood.


They’re high in vitamin B6, which helps synthesize feel-good neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin.

Bananas are high in fibre. When paired with fiber, sugar is released slowly into your bloodstream, allowing for stable blood sugar levels and better mood control. Low blood sugar levels may lead to irritability and mood swings.

Fermented Foods

A robust gut microbiome is associated with lower rates of mood disorders. Fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, tempeh, kombucha, and certain yogurts are good sources of healthy bacteria called probiotics.


Fatty fish like salmon and tuna are rich in two types of omega-3s — docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) — that are linked to lower levels of depression. Omega-3 fatty acids are part of cell membranes, particularly in the brain, and eating foods like salmon and sardines has been shown to ease depression and boost mood.


Coffee is the surprise food that may bring about smiles. Although die hard coffee drinkers may tell you they knew this all along.

The caffeine in coffee prevents a naturally occurring compound called adenosine from attaching to brain receptors that promote tiredness, therefore increasing alertness and attention. It also increases the release of mood-boosting neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and norepinephrine.


Legumes, including lentils, beans, peas, and chickpeas are a large component of the Mediterranean diet. This diet has many advantages, including a potential role in preventing and managing depression over your life span.

Legumes are high in fiber and together with other high-fiber foods (including oatmeal, asparagus, and bananas) support gut health which in turn is important in maintaining mental health.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  • Slm i am having visitors over – i need maybe 3 of the best restaurants in Cape Town or Claremont for lunch -can you recommend ?