10 Mood-Boosting Foods That Are As Good For Your Brain As They Are Your Bod

When food strikes the balance between being delicious and being good for you, that’s amore.

Just ask Guy Fieri.

He’s a man who knows the power of a good scalp bleach combined with a bottle-blonde soul patch. He also knows the mood-improving benefits of a good meal.

If there’s one constant in all of our lives, it’s food. Considering the average human tucks away 35,000kg of food in their lifetime, it’s worth making sure a fair percentage of that grub leaves you feeling great.

Jozef Youssef, chef patron and founder of Kitchen Theory, a British design studio specialising in scientific research into gastrophysics, has made it his business to investigate the way food makes us feel.

Commissioned by UberEats, Youssef has masterfully assembled a list of the top ten mood-boosting ingredients worth adding to your shopping list. So the next time you’re feeling like you need a pick me up that isn’t a tub of ice cream, you know what to throw in your basket.

1. Sweet Potato


“Vibrant in both colour and flavour, it is a delicious complex starch, beneficial for the production of serotonin, also known as ‘happiness’ neurotransmitter,” says Youssef.

You can do a hell of a lot with the humble sweet potato, too. You can oil and mash ’em, bake them and even use them to make mega moist brownies. Sorry, but they are moist.

If you’re looking for comfort food though, look no further than the sweet potato fry. Many folks reach for fast food to cheer them up, but it can leave you feeling sluggish and even worse. Sweet potato fries come in the familiar comforting format but help to produce serotonin – comfort food with a happiness boost.

2. Salmon

“Another vibrantly coloured ingredient, much loved for its buttery texture and feel, salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids which benefits the brain.”

When it comes to versatile proteins, salmon takes the fishcake. You can fold it over cream cheese on a bagel for breakfast, have it in a poke bowl for lunch or fry it up with veggies for a fast, nutritious dinner.

3. Kale

“Crunchy and earthy, kale is another complex starch that is also good for serotonin production.”

Since being slapped with the superfood title, kale has become something of a laughing stock in some circles. Mention that you’re having some for dinner and less health-woke friends may make clean eating-based gags at your expense. But don’t let that get you down. Incorporate kale into your diet and you’ll have the last laugh.

You can throw it in the oven with some oil, salt and cinnamon and boom, you’ve got a healthier alternative to fries. Whats more, the look of our food can have a strong effect on our mood and green foods are shown to calm us down.

4. Banana

“Beaming with a big yellow smile, bananas are rich in antioxidants, vitamins and pre-biotic foods which help with digestion – and this impacts mood!”

Everyone knows bananas are good for you, but can we talk about their form? Surely they are proof a divine other exists. First of all, they come in a natural package preventing them from unforgiving outside elements. They’re sweet without leaving a saccharine taste in your mouth. The way they fit, so ergonomically, in the human hand is borderline frightening. You’d be bananas not to love them.

5. Blueberries

“These vibrant little berries contain special antioxidants called carotenoids flavonoids and other antioxidant compounds like vitamin A, C, E, selenium, zinc, and phosphorus.”

If you’re not convinced of the importance of blueberries, let us politely point you in the direction of this very iconic YouTube clip. As you will see, blueberries are an integral ingredient in any good fruit salad. They’re brilliant blitzed into smoothies, too.

6. Red meat

“A good source of tryptophan which is essential in the production of serotonin and provides a number of essential nutrients, including protein, zinc and vitamin B12.”

Red meat isn’t the sexiest of foods at the moment. Vegetarianism is rising in Australia; almost 11% of us identify as followers of a plant-based diet. But if you love the taste of the occasional juicy rump, you’re enjoying a fair dose of iron that ensures that the red blood cells that carry oxygen from your lungs to transport it throughout your body are plentiful.

7. Mango

“Flesh bursting with the colour of sunshine, soft to touch and a heady sweet aroma, mango is packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.”

8. Chocolate

“A prebiotic and antioxidant treat known for putting a smile on most people’s faces.”

If eaten with thought and care, chocolate can be a really integral part of a balanced diet. Dark chocolate is especially good for the soul and/or rig. Look for blocks with a high cocoa percentage (70% and up) and minimal added ingredients – you might find you eat less because it’s so rich and aromatic.

9. Walnuts

“Coincidentally shaped like a brain, walnuts are known to be highly beneficial for our brain and are not only packed with antioxidants but also contain a number of other neuroprotective compounds, including vitamin E, folate, melatonin, omega-3 fats.”

Throw ’em on top of your dinners, add them to your porridge for some crunch or munch on them for an afternoon snack that won’t leave you with a regret-tinged belly ache.

10.  Kimchi

“Fiery in both flavour and colour, kimchi is a prebiotic food and the lactic acid bacteria formed during the fermentation of kimchi may also help your body break down pesticides.”

Kimchi is one of those foods that has animorphed from a sometimes-side-dish-at-a-restaurant into a fully-fledged staple of many modern Western diets.

The taste of these pickled vegetables varies depends on the sauce they’re fermented in, but they’re usually fishy and a bit salty, making them an ideal addition to savoury dishes that need some kick. Add it to fried rice or have it atop a steaming pile of veggies for a bit of a kick.


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