Wok filled with bulgur tabbouleh, kale, eggs and pomegranate seeds

Top 10 healthy, mood-boosting recipes

Feeling blue? Did you know the food you eat can affect your mental well-being as well as your physical health? Check out our recipes for tasty ways to support your mood.

Evidence suggests food may play a role in your overall mental well-being by helping to reduce stress, ease anxiety and even fight depression.

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A growing body of research highlights the importance of reducing the consumption of processed foods such as refined fats and sugars, in place of fresh, whole foods. In particular, studies have shown that a high intake of fruits and vegetables is favourable when looking to diet to support your mood.

Beyond this, key additions such as omega-3 rich fats, fibre-rich wholegrains, fermented foods, proteins and dark green vegetables are notable when it comes to promoting mood balance and well-being.

Read on for our top 10 mood-boosting recipes.

1. Blueberry and nut oat bake

Not only is our blueberry and nut oat bake a great make-ahead breakfast, it also packs a serious nutrition punch that’s good for the mind.

Blueberries are rich in antioxidants and folate which support the production of serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine – key brain chemicals involved in mood regulation and balance. Oats also offer a great source of slow-release energy which helps to stabilise mood and blood sugar levels throughout the day.

For more inspiration, check out our healthy oat recipes collection.

2. Green smoothie

This naturally sweet green smoothie contains a whole host of nutritious ingredients such as flaxseeds, almonds and spinach.

The addition of banana offers a great source of the amino acid tryptophan; required by the body to create serotonin – often referred to as the ‘happy chemical’ as it contributes to happiness and mental well-being. Bananas also provide vitamin B6 which aids the conversion of tryptophan into serotonin.

Try more banana smoothie recipes.

3. Avocado & black bean eggs

Our avocado & black bean eggs make for an impressive veggie breakfast, that tastes just as good for lunch or dinner.

Eggs are high in protein, vitamin D and B12. They also contain a large amount of choline, a nutrient that supports the nervous system, improves mood and helps to produce neurotransmitters (mood regulating brain chemicals). Not only a healthy (and creamy) source of fat, the avocados in this dish contain vitamin B5 which supports the adrenal glands – particularly beneficial during times of stress.

Why not try some more of our healthy egg and avocado recipes?

4. Stir-fried broccoli with coconut

Try our stir-fried broccoli with coconut for a tasty dose of magnesium.

Often referred to as ‘the calming mineral’, magnesium nourishes the nervous system and supports the action of brain chemicals such as GABA which play an important role in sleep and relaxation. Involved in over 300 reactions throughout the body, it also assists energy creation, bone health and the immune system. While magnesium can be found in many foods such as beans, nuts and seeds, it’s particularly abundant in dark green vegetables.

Don’t like broccoli? Try our spinach or kale recipes.

5. Salsa verde salmon with smashed chickpea salad

Fatty fish like salmon are a wonderful source of omega-3 fatty acids. These fats are highly anti-inflammatory and may support depression and improved mood. This recipe for salsa verde salmon not only provides a dose of healthy fats, but also offers added protein and fibre from the chickpeas.

For a plant-based omega-3 option, why not try our chocolate chia pudding?

6. Indian sweet potato and dhal pie

If you’re looking for a cheap and easy mood-boosting dinner, look no further than our Indian sweet potato and dhal pie. Packed full of fibre-rich vegetables, this is a great plant-based option. Lentils offer a generous supply of protein, iron and B vitamins which work together to support mood and energy balance. Try serving it with our garlicky greens for a further mood-boosting kick.

If you love vegetables, why not try some more of our great plant-based recipes?

7. Beef and bean chilli bowl with chipotle yogurt

This protein rich beef and bean chilli bowl with chipotle yogurt offers a good source of iron and vitamin B3. Iron is an important co-factor for the production of serotonin, while B3 helps the body to access energy from your food.

Learn more about the importance of iron in the diet.

8. Chilli tempeh stir-fry

This chilli tempeh provides a wonderful source of vegan protein that, as a fermented food, also offers plenty of gut-loving probiotics. Or if tempeh isn’t your thing, why not try our kale and bulgur tabbouleh with yogurt dressing

A plethora of research shows a tangible link between brain and gut health, with about 90 per cent of the body’s serotonin being produced in the digestive tract. 

Fermented foods contain a natural source of probiotics and so are a great way of supporting your gut health. From yogurt to kombuchasauerkraut and kimchi, there are plenty of tasty options to try! 

Check out our gut-friendly and vegan gut-friendly recipes for more great options.

9. Lean turkey burger with sweet potato wedges

If you love burgers, why not try our lean turkey burger with sweet potato wedges as a way to support both your brain and your waistline? Turkey is rich in mood-boosting tryptophan, while sweet potato offers a great source of fibre and B6, which aid digestion and brain function.

For more ways to include turkey in your diet, check out some of our delicious turkey recipes.

10. Instant berry banana slush

While sugar might give you a boost at first, the crash often experienced after a sugar-high can make you feel worse than before. Try our instant berry banana slush for a sweet treat that’s packed with antioxidant-rich berries and fibre to keep your mind running smoothly.

Sweet tooth? Try out some more of our lower sugar recipes.

Enjoyed this? Check out more well-being articles…

5 ways the food you eat affects your brain
Stress relief: How diet and lifestyle can help
10 foods to boost your brain power

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What is your favourite mood-boosting recipe? Leave a comment below…