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Four delicious foods to boost your mood according to science

We often binge on junk food when we are sad or upset, but can we eat our way out of a bad mood? Here are four foods research suggests boosts your mood.

The idea that food and mood is interlinked seems intuitive. Now research has emerged to back this up. A number of studies have found that diets high in fruits, vegetables and wholegrains significantly improves mood, and even protects against depression. Here are four mood boosting foods to include in your diet according to science:  


1. Hummus

Who doesn’t love a bit of hummus with their falafel!?! Hummus is delicious and contains a number of nutrients such as tryptophan and folate which are associated with improved mood. In fact, research has found that hummus can have similar effects to some antidepressants! So the next time you are feeling blue, add a bit of hummus to your sandwich at lunch. Not only will it enhance the flavour of your lunch, but it may also boost your mood! 


2. Legumes:

Legumes are more than just humble beans. They are packed with tons of nutrients such as folate, calcium, copper, magnesium, iron, and zinc, that boost your mood. Add a serve of legumes to your daily diet to experience their mood enhancing effects!


3. Shitake Mushrooms

Shitake mushrooms are delicious in a stir fry! They can also help improve your mood because they are high in Vitamin D. Low levels of Vitamin D are linked to mood disorders like depression, anxiety and seasonal affective disorder, so slice up these yummy mushrooms and throw them into the wok for dinner tonight! 


4. Dark Chocolate

Dark Chocolate is literally the yummiest food in the world! Turns out, it’s also good for your mood. That is because chocolate stimulates some of the same neurotransmitters that euphoria producing drugs like opiates do. At Intertain we like to say “a chunk of chocolate a day keeps the mood swings away!” 

Published 3 August 2017 


Lachance, L., & Ramsey, D. (2015). Food, mood, and brain health: Implications for the modern clinician. Missouri Medicine, 112, 111-115.

Li, Y., Dai, Q., Tedders, S. H., Arroyo, C., & Zhang, J. (2010). Legume consumption and severe depressed mood, the modifying roles of gender and menopausal status. Public health nutrition, 13(8), 1198-1206.

Parker, G. B., Brotchie, H., & Graham, R. K. (2017). Vitamin D and depression. Journal of affective disorders, 208, 56-61.

Rathore, H., Prasad, S., & Sharma, S. (2017). Mushroom nutraceuticals for improved nutrition and better human health: A review. PharmaNutrition, 5, 35 – 46.

Sanchez-Villegas, A., Henriquez, P., Bes-Rastrollo, M., & Doreste, J. (2006). Mediterranean diet and depression. Public health nutrition, 9, 1104-1109.

Scholey, A., & Owen, L. (2013). Effects of chocolate on cognitive function and mood: a systematic review. Nutrition reviews, 71(10), 665-681.

Waters, E. (2014). Foods to Improve Your Mood. Psych Central

Wallace, T. C., Murray, R., & Zelman, K. M. (2016). The nutritional value and health benefits of chickpeas and hummus. Nutrients, 8, 766 – 773. 

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