Mood Boosting Foods

mood boosting food

Fatty Fish – Omega-3

Containing Omega-3 essential fatty acids, fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel – even sardines – provide your brain with this nutrient that your body does not produce. Our brains are made up of mostly fat, so it’s important to consume Omega-3 through your diet. Consumption of Omega-3 has been linked with lower levels of depression. It is also very good for your joints, eyes, hair, skin, and nails.
Simply add fish to your meals 3-5 days a week.

Not a fish eater?
Me neither.
You can find some high quality supplements. You can also purchase algae based Omega-3 if you chose not to consume fish. Things I look for is the coating to help with fishy burps. Enteric coatings help to ensure that the pill doesn’t doesn’t dissolve until it’s passed through the stomach. Another thing to be aware of, the dosage. Sure you can find a mega bottle of 1000mg of “Fish Oil” at your local super centre, but if you look closely, you generally get minute amounts of Omega-3. LOOK at the make up of your fish oil. Generally, it’s only a very low amount of DHA and EPA.

You can get Omega-3 from nuts and seeds as well,
Often the amount of DHA and EPA are much lower than with fish or a supplement. Nuts also have Omega-6 which in excess, can cause inflammation.

food boost mood

Additional thoughts on fish consumption.
Try to make sure that your fish, or fish oil is free from mercury and sustainably caught.

Complex Carbohydrates

Full of fibre, complex carbs will help to stabilize blood sugar and help to keep moods and energy levels consistent throughout the day. Most complex carbs are a source of B vitamins which can help improve mood by increasing levels of neurotransmitters.
Bonus: fibre helps fill you up so you’re less likely to overeat chips and ice cream.

  • Fibre rich fruits such as apples, berries and bananas
  • Whole grains
  • Fibre rich veggies such as broccoli, leafy greens and carrots
  • Beans and other lentils

Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate is rich in many mood boosting compounds including flavonoids, caffeine, theobromine, N-acylethanolamine.
Look for 70% or more cocoa content and watch out for added sugars.
It’s best to enjoy 1-2 small squares per day.

Fermented Foods

Fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, kombucha, and kimchi contains probiotics, the good bacteria, that your body needs. Up to 90% of your serotonin is made in your digestive tract so it is important to keep to keep your gut healthy. Look for sugar free versions that you can flavour yourself with berries, cinnamon, vanilla and honey.


Caffeine acts as a mild anti-depressant by increasing the release of dopamine and norepinephrine, mood boosting neurotransmitters. Caffeine increases alertness and attention by preventing adenosine from attaching to brain receptors that promote tiredness. Decaf coffee has also been shown to increase mood, possibly due to the presence of antioxidants.
Enjoy 1-2 cups a day, but limit consumption in the afternoon and evening so it doesn’t interfere with your sleep.

mood booster coffee caffeine

On the flip side . . . too much caffeine can cause restlessness, anxiety and sleeplessness. So don’t over do the coffee.

Who am I to offer advice?
I am a certified NESTA Lifestyle and Weigh Management Specialist.
I have also worked in the natural health and supplement industry for over a decade. Still, all of this is simply advice. I am sharing information. Talk to your physician or medical professional before making any changes or starting a new program or supplement. I am not here to diagnose. prevent, or treat any disease or illness. I am simply offering advice from a nutritional standpoint.

If your brain doesn’t make the chemicals it needs — store bought is fine!

Please don’t be afraid to talk to someone or get help.
There’s no shame in taking medication to help with moods.
And if one doesn’t work, talk to your medical professional.
There are so many options.
Click here for a list of worldwide helplines

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26 thoughts on “Mood Boosting Foods

  1. These are all great things! Especially the dark chocolate and coffee 😀 I need to get more Omegas for sure and I love fish and flax is great, I just need to incorporate them into my diet more often. I don’t eat a lot of fermented foods and I should because they are so great for gut health!

  2. You know I’ve always wondered what types of food could be used as natural mood boosters as opposed to using medicines and stuff. So this has been really informative.

  3. So happy that I have fish oil, dark chocolate, probiotic drinks, and coffee here at home today. Thank you for this list and information.

  4. There’s something so true about all of these. On days that I’m feeling fuzzyheaded and scattered, a cup of coffee and a bit of dark chocolate always get me back on track.

  5. Thanks for this list. We have gotten off track with our eating lately, and I realize that we need to get a little better so that we can support our mood.

  6. Great list! I am already having dark chocos and coffee everyday…will try fermented fruits

  7. I love this. As a mom living with mood disorder I can definitely appreciate this post. Coffee as “mild anti-depressant?” That’s news to me. It sure does enhance my mood when I am in a balanced state. I also appreciate how you added a helpline for folks struggling. Way to be! Thanks for this!

  8. Food can have a massive impact on mood it great to read a post about it. 😊

  9. I love how the understanding about how food can affect us seems to be increasing all the time. It can really have such an effect on our mood, behaviour, learning etc. I’m forever trying to improve my (autistic) son’s diet, but he’s pretty selective with his eating so it’s not an easy task. I also don’t want to be too tough as it might take the joy out of eating completely for him. But either way, it’s great to learn about the effects of certain foods like these, so we can make more conscious choices!
    Thank you so much for linking up with #KCACOLS, I hope you’ll join in again next time x

  10. […] Don’t forget about sleep!!Not just any sleep, but a good restorative sleep with help your body be in the right condition to help fight off invaders like viruses and bacteria.Stress will also take a toll on your immune system too. Check out my post for five of the best foods that can help improve and boost your mood. […]

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