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Living Well

14 Super Foods For A Mood Lift

Jan 12, 2018

Fatigue affects your physical as well as mental well-being. It can be detrimental to your precious immune systems, making you vulnerable to illness and depression. When you’re tired, you may want to steer towards a coffee, but that will only give you a brief emotional lift. Give yourself and your immune system a push with the following mood boosting foods. These will help you fight a pesky slump and are also healthy in the long run for you.


Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for energy production, brain activity and circulation. Salmon is a great source of omega-3, making it an ideal energy and mood boosting food. It also contains vitamin B-12, which helps the brain produce chemicals that affect your mood. Daily intake of salmon will help you keep your mind healthy. After all, who doesn’t like a nice piece of salmon for dinner?

Dark Chocolate

Yes, you read it right! Dark chocolate can help in shaking off bad moods and is protective against depression. It is also an energizing food as it has excellent sources of iron and magnesium. But don’t start bingeing yet. It’s important to know that too much sugar is negatively associated with brain health. So keep your portions to a square or two a day and make sure that the chocolate is at least 70 percent dark!


More commonly known as Kesar, saffron is a great mood boosting food as it improves the availability of serotonin, the feel-good neurotransmitter, more available to the brain. Saffron was first mentioned as a medicine in the Ebers Papyrus over 3,500 years ago, as a ‘cheering cardiac medicament.’ It can be added to regular food or even to a glass of lemonade to increase the daily intake.


Next time you are feeling sluggish, go nuts! Walnuts, pistachios, almonds, cashews and hazelnuts are all high in magnesium, which plays a major role in converting sugar into energy. They are also filled with fibre to keep your blood sugar levels even. Nuts are full of serotonin, antioxidants and healthy fats, which makes them a perfect mood boosting food. Just make sure that you don’t have more than a handful of nuts a day. Don’t forget; avoid salted and flavoured nuts.


Our favourite on this list of mood boosting foods? Berries! Strawberries, blueberries, goji berries are all a rich source of antioxidants known as flavonoids. These antioxidants help in activating brain pathways that are associated with better cognition and less cellular aging. They also increase the body’s capacity to handle stress and support healthy mood, mind and memory. And the best part of it all is that they taste amazing!

Green Tea

Swap your 4 pm cup of regular tea with a cup of refreshing green tea! Depression is often a combination of biochemical imbalance, unresolved emotional issues, nutrient deficiencies and hormonal imbalance. L-Theanine in green tea is a rich source of chemicals like dopamine and serotonin that fight these problems. A cup or two of green tea a day is an excellent mood boosting food, making you happier!


The human brain is about 60% fat and we need to get our fat from a dietary source. Avocado is rich in tryptophan, which is a precursor to serotonin, a feel-good chemical. It also has Omega 3, which has an essential fatty acid that helps in combating inflammation in the brain and also helps in regulating our brain’s neurotransmitters. So if you ask us what is the perfect breakfast food to fight the morning blues, we would say it’s avocadoes!


Quinoa (pronounced as KEEN-wa.) is an awesome vegan source of protein. It is a complex carbohydrate that can prevent depression and anxiety by increasing the levels of serotonin in the brain. Quinoa is also high in folate, magnesium, phosphorus and manganese. All of these make quinoa a nutrient-packed source of carbohydrates for lasting energy levels.


Give your day an eggy-start by having iron and protein-rich eggs for breakfast! Eggs are a good source of vitamin D, which is needed for fighting depression and also includes mood-boosting vitamin B. They are rich in a wide variety of brain and neurotransmitter-boosting nutrients like lecithin, choline and cholesterol. As a result, they help in increasing motivation and improving mood and the functioning of the nervous system.


It may be surprising to know that more than 90% of the body’s serotonin as well as about 50% of the body’s dopamine is produced in the gut. Serotonin and dompamine are essential antidepressant neurotransmitters. So if your digestive tract is not functioning at an optimal level, it will severely reduce your body’s ability to produce the correct levels of neurotransmitters. Ghee is rich in butyric acid, which is used in the treatment of various digestive troubles. This makes ghee one of the most effective and healthy mood boosting foods.


Our body craves sweet foods from time to time, especially when you are depressed or feeling low. Honey is packed with beneficial compounds such as quercetin and kaempferol that help clean up the free radicals. Honey also helps in reducing inflammation, which is very important for maintaining a healthy brain. So the next time you have a sweet tooth, reach for an organic bottle of honey as a mood boosting food rather than sugar.


Zinc has an important role in helping our bodies fight off stress. It is also essential for that part of the brain that regulates mood and memory. Zinc deficiency is also linked to depression. Oysters are high in zinc, a mineral that’s not stored by the body and must be consumed daily. It also contains iodine and selenium; properties that help boost the thyroid gland functions, a part of your brain that stimulates happiness. This makes zinc an ideal brain and mood boosting food!

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a rich source of beta-carotene and B6. Low levels of vitamin B6 have been associated with symptoms of depression, so it is essential to get the required intake of this nutrient. Beta-carotene and B6 are mood enhancers and are often used to treat mood disorders and can instantly help with anxiety.


One of the most inexpensive mood boosting foods, bananas are an excellent source of energy. Bananas contain the amino acid tryptophan as well as vitamins A, B6 and C, fibre, potassium, phosphorous, iron and carbohydrates. Carbohydrates aid in the absorption of tryptophan in the brain. And vitamin B6 helps in converting tryptophan into the mood-lifting hormone serotonin. It also helps in balancing hunger and keeps mood stable between meals.

Apoorva Pagar
Apoorva is a health & well being enthusiast who believes in eating fresh and eating right. She's an obsessive dancer who also enjoys an occasional yoga and boot-camp class. She is willing to spend hours hunting down a healthy but delicious smoothie!