5 feel good foods


How yoghurt boosts mood

Besides being great for the digestive system, yoghurt that contains acidopholous and bifidous can be useful for women who suffer moodiness during their menstrual cycle. Research shows that women who experience moodiness may have an underlying condition where calcium isn’t used properly by the body during times of low estrogen in the menstrual cycle. Consuming at least 1000 mg of calcium each day has been found to alleviate depression and anxiety in women who experience PMT. Plain yoghurt is actually one of the most concentrated sources of the mineral at 488 mg calcium per cup.

Mood-boosting yoghurt tips

Low-fat natural yoghurt is the healthiest option, but if you must choose flavoured yoghurts, then go for yoghurts that are rich in probiotics and have buzz words like “live cultures” or “active cultures”on the packet.


How salmon boosts mood

Foods high in Omega 3 fatty acids, such as salmon, have been found to promote feelings of well-being. Studies of people who traditionally eat high amounts of fish, such as those who live in the Mediterranean region, have found that these people have lower rates of depression. We all know fish is good for the heart, too, but it’s important for pregnant women, breastfeeding women and young children to eat fish that is low in mercury, which salmon is. Fish and shellfish contain high-quality protein and other essential nutrients, as well as being low in saturated fat, so if you can’t get hold of salmon, make sure you include some fish in your diet each week. Omega 3 fats have potential to help slow cognitive problems such as Alzheimer’s disease and age-related cognitive decline. Also, people who have sufficient levels of Omega 3s seem to have less depression and suicide risk, as well as less aggression — in one study, giving prison inmates this type of fat (plus vitamins) reduced aggressive behavior by a third in a mere two weeks

Mood-boosting salmon tips

Salmon can be bought smoked, canned and fresh.

Fresh salmon fillets are often more expensive than buying lean meat, and you can expect to pay between $20 and $30 kg for farmed salmon fillets around New Zealand. Canned salmon is another great option and if it includes soft bones then you’ll get an extra healthy dose of calcium.

Dark Chocolate

How chocolate boosts mood

Chocolate has been found in study after study to improve a negative mood. Chocolate – and especially dark chocolate which has more antioxidants – has the optimal combination of sweet flavor and creamy texture to release of endorphins, which are mood-elevating hormones. Cocoa and dark chocolate contain ingredients which studies have shown improves blood flow in the brain. A study performed at the University of Oslo in Norway shows a direct correlation between chocolate cocoa and brain function of the elderly. The study included 2031 participants who were given cognitive tests both before and after eating chocolate. The results were better after eating a small amount of chocolate. Cocoa products, especially the dark variety, are associated with increased blood flow to the brain. This may be especially helpful for conditions with decreased blood flow, including dementia and stroke.

Mood-boosting chocolate tips

We should all know that chocolate doesn’t make for a healthy, well-balanced meal, but small amounts of chocolate are great. Dr Sandra Cabot recommends 20-40 g servings of chocolate as a snack after dinner to make yourself feel good. It’s better to eat a small amount of high-quality, expensive dark chocolate than cheap chocolate full of fats and cheap cocoa compound


How walnuts boost mood

Walnuts are the only nut that contain a significant amount of Omega 3s, which are an important component of cell membranes and vital for brain cells to function well. They also rank higher than other nuts in terms of antioxidants, which help to protect cells from damage. Scientific studies suggest a connection between increased rates of depression and decreased Omega 3 consumption, and in children, the relationship between low dietary intake of Omega 3 fats and ADHD has begun to be studied. A recent Purdue University study showed that kids low in Omega 3 essential fatty acids are significantly more likely to be hyperactive, have learning disorders, and to display behavioral problems. In the Purdue study, a greater number of behavioural problems, temper tantrums, and sleep problems were reported in subjects with lower total Omega 3 fatty acid concentrations.

Mood-boosting walnut tips

Sprinkle walnuts over spinach leaves and fresh pear to make a healthy salad. Eat walnuts instead of fruit for an afternoon snack.Eating just 4 walnuts a day significantly increased blood levels of the health-protective Omega 3 essential fatty acids, alpha linolenic acid (ALA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) in a study. EPA, a longer-chain Omega 3 fat, is already present in cold water fish, but is not found in nuts, which contain the shorter-chain Omega 3 fat, ALA. Fortunately, as this study confirms, our bodies can make EPA from the ALA provided by walnuts


How lemon boosts mood

It’s all in that zesty smell, apparently. There’s something about the freshness of lemons that boosts the mood, according to an aromatherapy study at Ohio State University which found that when participants smelled lemon oil, their mood improved. The researchers couldn’t find any physiological reasons for why this happened but if people feel better after smelling lemon, then who are we to argue?

Mood-boosting lemon tips

Buy lemon-scented oils and candles, or add lemon to food and drinks for a bonus boost of vitamins and antioxidants too. One lemon has plenty of vitamin c plus host of phytonutrients found to lower bad cholesterol and prevent plaque build-up in the arteries.



  1. Amanda Carr March 15, 2018 at 1:02 pm

    Yum I love all of these but don’t use the lemon so much. We even purchased half a salmon the other day on the way through Tekapo but usually buy cans. It’s amazing to see how beneficial these all are to our health.

  2. Vikki Sainsbury March 8, 2018 at 3:55 pm

    Yum I actually like all of these! Especially the dark chocolate haha. I definitely need some mood boosters 🙁 my mood has been a little on the dark side lately due to tiredness and health issues causing pain, so any kind of boost is good!!

  3. Hollie March 8, 2018 at 2:14 pm

    I would have never known that foods could be mood boosters! I like all of these, apart from chocolate, so will definitely be more mindful of consuming them especially as we move towards the dreary colder seasons.

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