Top 10 Mood Boosting Foods – What is S.A.D?

Cold temperatures and darker days can have a significant effect on our mood. Did you know that introducing certain foods to your diet can cheer you up? Some foods can really make you feel happier. So, get ready to say goodbye to those winter blues! 

Beginning and finishing your workday in the dark is one cause of the seasonal affective disorder, also known as winter depression or the S.A.D. This can lead to lower production of the happy hormone, serotonin. In addition, production of the sleep hormone, melatonin, is higher in the winter. The result is that we feel lazy, tired and unmotivated. 

However, certain foods build neurotransmitters, which can help boost our mood and energy. Here are the Top 10 Mood Boosting Foods.

Top 10 Mood Boosting Foods


Top 10 Mood Boosting Foods

Eggs supply vitamin D, which helps fight the winter blues. Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, is created from direct sunlight on our skin. It is also found in foods like fish, eggs, dairy products and mushrooms.
We need to be especially careful about getting enough vitamin D when the days get shorter in the winter. If we are lacking the sunshine vitamin, we will feel tired and run down. Make sure you are consuming enough foods rich in vitamin D.

Greek Yogurt

Packed with protein, zinc and B12, Greek yogurt is an amazing snack option for providing nutrients to support nervous system health. Low levels of B-12 and other B vitamins such as vitamin B-6 and folate may be linked to depression. It’s also a versatile ingredient that can help you increase your protein intake at any meal.


Top 10 Mood Boosting Foods

Lentils are a perfect combination of complex carbohydrates and protein to help increase absorption of tryptophan, while their high iron and fibre levels help make mood-boosting neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine. They also provide a good supply of folate which helps develop the nervous system. Folate deficiency is associated with depression so adding more of it to your diet can help boost your mood.


Salmon is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are highly anti-inflammatory. Omega-3s are crucial for brain and nervous system development. With high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, eating salmon a couple of times a week may help prevent anxiety and depression.


Top 10 Mood Boosting Foods

Yes, chocolate makes you happy! It contains a number of compounds which boosts endorphins, and anandamide, otherwise known as ‘the bliss chemical’. Chocolate can improve mood and cognition, plus it’s a rich source of antioxidants, iron and magnesium to help us relax.


If you’re feeling a little lack lustre, adding some chilli to a meal may just be enough to put a smile back on your face: spicy ingredients like chilli, jalapeño or other hot peppers can work wonders on a bad mood. This is thanks to Capsaicin, the active ingredient in peppers that makes them hot. Endorphins are released in reaction to the irritation caused by spicy food. The body produces endorphins naturally to cope with pain and make you happy.


Top 10 Mood Boosting Foods

Peanuts, cashews, almonds or hazelnuts: they are the ideal snack to brighten your mood. They contain tryptophan, an amino acid important for the production of serotonin. Nuts are also a great go-to for protein, magnesium, fibre and Vitamin E. As an antioxidant, Vitamin E can help combat free radical damage in the brain and has been shown to improve memory and cognition.


Turkey is rich in tryptophan, an amino acid that helps us produce serotonin. Low levels of tryptophan can lead to lower serotonin production and an increase in symptoms of anxiety, while diets high in tryptophan can reduce depression and irritability.


Top 10 Mood Boosting Foods

What DON’T they contain is more the point. Avocados are packed to the nines with B vitamins and the amino acid tryptophan, which is used to make serotonin in the brain, mood-enhancing vitamin E and folic acid. They also contain Vitamin B5, which helps synthesize neurotransmitters and supports the adrenal glands.

Sweet Potato

Each sweet potato contains high levels of antioxidants vitamin A and C which work together to boost the immune system, potassium and high levels of soluble fibre. Soluble fibre slows down the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream, and can potentially help to regulate your blood sugar levels, keeping them constant and thus helping you maintain a consistently good mood.


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Annie O'Brien

Annie O'Brien

Annie is our Business Development Manager here at GourmetFuel. Annie completed her Bachelor’s degree in Food Innovation at the Technology University of Dublin. Before joining the team at GourmetFuel, she worked for a successful start-up company based in New York City where she gained valuable experience in product development, food safety, and allergen management and control.  Her areas of interest are food business sustainability, health promotion, and nutrition research. 

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