10 Mood Boosting Foods – Healthy Edition - Ascendment Mental Health Blog

10 Mood Boosting Foods – Healthy Edition

Modern living can take a toll on our mental health. We often reach for brightly packeted processed foods in an effort to lift our mood. These types of foods are often bad for our gut which in turn negatively affects our mood. There’s a better way. There are a variety of foods available to us that are both healthy and can boost our mood.

In this article we’ll look at the relationship between the gut and the brain, and we’ll discuss 10 healthy foods that are known for boosting mood.

The Gut-Brain Axis

Making small changes to our diet can boost our mood. This is because our gut acts as our second brain. The brain and gut are in fact linked by the vagus nerve which passes signals between the two organs. A gut with a poor microbiome can negatively affect our mood. The gut produces a massive 90% of the body’s serotonin! Serotonin is a neurotransmitter than controls mood and sleep.

10 Mood Boosting Healthy Foods

  1. Dark Chocolate
  2. Green Tea
  3. Salmon
  4. Kefir
  5. Kombucha
  6. Chia Seeds
  7. Chamomile Tea
  8. Lemon Balm Tea
  9. Bananas
  10. Blueberries

Dark Chocolate

You’ll know we love Dark Chocolate if you’ve read our posts before. Look for Dark Chocolate that contains above 70% cocoa. You can’t go wrong with 85% cocoa content in terms of taste and health benefits.

This superfood contains caffeine which gives us an almost instant cognitive boost. It also contains two more feel-good compounds – theobromine and N-acylethanolamine. Studies on the latter have proved that it improves mood.

In addition, Dark Chocolate contains powerful antioxidants that fight free radicals in the body. Free radicals can cause health issues and disease. 

10 Mood Boosting Foods – Dark Chocolate

Green Tea

Green Tea is another source of powerful antioxidants. It also contains a wonderful amino acid called L-Theanine. This amino acid promotes a feeling of calm making Green Tea the perfect option for people suffering from anxiety and depression. This instant mood booster provides a feeling of serenity.

This type of tea contains some caffeine, but typically 3-4 times less that a cup of coffee provides. This means there’s no mid-morning crash like with coffee. Instead it provides a little cognitive boost along with a state of calmness.


Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for our brain health. Fatty fishes such as salmon are a fantastic source of Omega 3. Our body doesn’t produce these essential fats naturally so we can only obtain them through food or supplements.

Salmon contains different types of omega-3s. It contains two types of omega-3s that studies have linked to lower levels of depression. These are called docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid, or DHA and EPA for short.

10 Mood Boosting Foods – Salmon


We mentioned the important of our gut microbiome above. Our guts absolutely love Kefir. This fermented milk drink contains different strains of bacteria which help to nourish the friendly bacteria that exist in our gut.

The name Kefir comes from the Turkish word “keyif” which means to feel good after eating. The great thing about Kefir is it can be easily brewed at home. All you need is some granules, which are cheap to get hold of, milk, a sieve and a couple of mason jars.


Another fermented food starting with a “k” is Kombucha. This drink can kickstart our day and improve our mood. It’s usually made from fermented Black or Green Tea, sugar and yeast. Did I mention we love Green Tea.

Benefits of Kombucha include aiding digestion, getting rid of toxins from the body, as well as boosting energy. Just like Kefir, the good bacteria in Kombucha nourishes our gut microbiome which in turn improves our mood.

10 Mood Boosting Foods – Kombucha

Chia Seeds

Chia Seeds have numerous health benefits. They are a plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids. These small seeds can be sprinkled onto yogurts or smoothies. They are full of nutrients and a good source of iron, calcium, fiber, and protein.

The mood-boosting nature of Chia Seeds is provided by the magnesium that they contain. Magnesium is able to relax the mind and body and it can relieve stress, anxiety, and depression.

Chamomile Tea

Chamomile Tea is a herbal tea that helps to reduce inflammation in the body and helps to lower and regulate blood sugar.

Its greatest benefit is its ability to calm nerves and relieve stress and anxiety. Drinking a mug of Chamomile calms the nervous system and provides a feeling of serenity. It contains a compound called apigenin which has a mild sedative effect. This helps to promote sleep and can be useful for those suffering from insomnia.

10 Mood Boosting Foods – Chamomile Tea

Lemon Balm Tea

Lemon Balm Tea has similar mental benefits to Chamomile. It has long history of relieving stress and has been used as a relaxant for centuries. It’s also proven to boost mood and improve cognitive function.


Bananas contain an amino acid called tryptophan which produces 5-HTP. It’s 5-HTP that creates serotonin. The vitamin B6 in bananas also helps to produce the feel-good hormone dopamine.

The fiber and sugar in Bananas ensure stable blood sugar levels and better mood control. They are full of minerals such as potassium which is great for hearth health.

10 Mood Boosting Foods – Bananas


Blueberries are one of the best sources of antioxidants that fight free radicals in the body. They can improve digestion, lower cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure.

In addition to all their physical health benefits, Blueberries can also have a positive effect on our mood. They do this by helping to regulate and prevent spikes in cortisol levels. Cortisol is released when we are stressed. They are rich in polyphenols which may be beneficial to cognitive performance and mood.

Download our free guide to boost your mindset here.

If you have anxiety or depression, we have a guide which provides a game plan to overcome both.

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