7 Mood Foods To Beat Those January Blues…

If you’re anything like us, January crept up on you quicker than the aunt you were trying to avoid for all of Christmas. It’s always a gloomy month, and this one hasn’t disappointed. If like us, you find yourself lacking that extra bit of stimulation and looking to beat the nasty blues, look no further.


Many of the feelings of happiness we experience as humans come from our production of a hormone called serotonin  – and often a depressed mood is a result of a lack of this. This often combines with dopamine, another hormone associated with pleasure and reward, making the two a truly winning combination. Bananas are a great mood food because they contain tryptophan, an amino acid that can’t be created naturally – and has been proven to boost serotonin levels! Not only this, but bananas have the power of boosting dopamine production, creating a double-whammy of mental goodness.


Does anyone ever stop talking about the benefits of omega-3? Well, it’s with good reason. Not only do omega-3s increase serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain much like bananas do, they have a proven link with increasing grey matter in the brain – associated with positive emotions. Omega-3s are found in several places – oily fish; nuts and seeds such as chia;  as well as egg yolks and many other sources.

Dark Leafy Greens

Depression and low mood have both frequently been linked to deficiencies in B vitamins, which have been found to hinder serotonin production, decreasing our levels of happiness. B vitamins to look out for include folate, and vitamins B3, B6 and B12, and are found in high quantities in leafy green vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, dark cabbage and kale. Do the health benefits of these bad boys ever end?


These quirky shellfish might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but nobody can deny their impressive health benefits – particularly when it comes to mental health. Oysters are a very impressive source of zinc, essential for energy production and brain health. Zinc deficiency has been strongly linked to poor mental health and depression. Not only this, but oysters contain a protein which is rich in the amino acid tyrosine, which also enhances mental function and elevates your mood. What’s not to like! 

Dark Chocolate

Finally, a cheeky ‘treat’ food on the list. In addition to the awesome health effects already commonly associated with dark chocolate, it really can make you happy. Chocolate contains anandamide, a compound that binds with certain brain receptors producing the hormone dopamine, that stuff again, which produces a feeling of happiness and content. We would still advise not to consume too much though! 

Sunflower Seeds

Remember these? The health snack from the 2000s that sometimes seems forgotten about, sunflower seeds contain one particularly powerful ingredient when it comes to cognitive health; selenium, found in the salt usually accompanying the seeds. A chemical essential for maintaining good health, consumption can lead to an immediate mood boost. Studies show that those who suffer from deficiency are more likely to report feelings of depression, and the chemical is even being included in potential treatments. 


Despite the ongoing debates about fructose, there is no denying that honey possesses some fabulous health effects – including containing high amounts of quercetin, a powerful antioxidant. It’s been proven to be 5 times more powerful than vitamin C, and acts to rid the body of toxins – making the mind happier. It also contains high levels of the chemical Kaempferol, which ‘cleans up’ the areas of the brain that are happy triggers. Are you looking for advice on your food or drink product, from our food and drink consulting team? Or are you simply looking for more information? Call us on 01803 203387 or email at hamish@hra-global.com.

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