Mood-Boosting Foods To Fade Your Monday Blues

Your food has a lot to do with how your brain functions and feels. So let’s explore the best mood-boosting foods or good-mood foods to beat those Monday blues. The right foods can prevent you from feeling drained and improve your concentration and boost productivity.

By URLife Team
30 Dec 2022

A 2019 study published in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine shows a strong relationship between nutrition and depression. And it’s not just depression, a whole array of emotions can be linked to what you’re eating. While genetics, sleep deficiency, stress and nutritional deficiencies can affect how you feel, so can what you eat.

For example, the involvement of certain nutrients like tryptophan, magnesium, polyphenols, and omega-3 fatty acids can impact your mood. Foods with these essential nutrients can be labelled as good-mood foods!

While we’ve already delved into how to win over your Monday blues, if you’re looking to beat Monday blues through nutrition, try these mood-boosting foods!


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1. Chocolate

No, we’re not joking; you can now include chocolate in your list of food that makes you happy without even feeling guilty about it! A 2013 study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology stated that cocoa polyphenols are proven to impact your mood positively. People who consumed a large amount of cocoa polyphenols through dark chocolate drinks were reported to feel more content and calmer than those who didn’t take cocoa polyphenols.

Chocolate is rich in antioxidants which may protect your brain against cognitive decline and increase your serotonin levels. Moreover, there’s no harm in indulging in an ounce of dark chocolate every day!


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2. Nuts

Nuts are filled with plant-based proteins, fibre, and healthy fats. They are also rich in tryptophan, an amino acid known for enhancing your production of serotonin, the chemical responsible for making you feel happy.

Nuts that can be labelled as foods that improve your mood include—almonds, peanuts, pistachios, and walnuts. You can never go wrong with eating a handful of these super snacks or even a spoonful of your favourite nut butter daily. Eat them raw, roasted or even in the form of nut butter and you are set!

Dr. Kiranmayee Addu, UNICEF Project Nutrition Scientist advises that a healthy nut mixture of almonds, pistachios, walnuts, and dates can be kept for winter. Carry peanut or sesame chikki, which is easy to make at home, to satisfy your sweet tooth. Traditional bajra or ragi laddus are also perfect to carry to office. Flax seeds and pumpkin seeds, which are high in micronutrients and antioxidants, are great additions. Another option to consider is carrot sticks with hummus (mashed chickpeas). You can also bring fruit to work to get your daily vitamin dose.

“Nuts and seeds (sunflower seeds, almonds) are also high in the antioxidant vitamin E, which helps with cognition. Pumpkin seeds are high in magnesium, copper, and zinc, aiding concentration and memory,” says Dr. Kiranmayee.


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3. Green Tea

Green tea has withstood the test of time by testifying its significance in relaxing your mind and inducing mental clarity and cognitive function.

Loaded with antioxidants, a warm and soothing cup of green tea on cold winter mornings can have an instant soothing effect on your mood. Moreover, you can even kick off your afternoon fatigue with this super mood-stabilising food. Not just this, it has even been proven to contain cancer-fighting properties along with chronic condition-reducing characteristics.


4. Salmon

While salmon is not found natively in India, there is another fish quite similar to it, known as Indian Salmon or Rawas fish. It contains an essential compound known as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) that assists your brain in maintaining the central nervous system of your body. Moreover, salmon is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids that can positively affect your serotonin levels. Fish also has a positive effect on your metabolism and heart.


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5. Green Leafy Vegetables

There’s a reason why parents always force us to eat our green vegetables regularly because they’re super good for our mind. Besides being packed with loads of health benefits, especially in winter, a regular dose of greens in your meals can also uplift your mood.

Greens provide a packed punch of vitamin B folates, which boost your brain’s activities. People going through depression have lower folate levels, which is also the main cause behind their brain’s inability to absorb serotonin, dopamine, and other mood-controlling neurotransmitters. So, don’t skip your greens like spinach and broccoli!


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6. Avocados

Treating yourself to a daily breakfast of avocado and toast is a great self-care tip to follow. Why? Because avocados are known to be another magical mood-enhancing food. This green fruit is rich in vitamins that promote the metabolism of neurotransmitters known to reduce stress and improve your mood.

Additionally, avocados are high in vitamins E, C, and fibre, making them a perfect dose of health for you.


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7. Chickpeas

The humble chickpea is actually your road to happiness! They are loaded with vital amino acids like tryptophan, along with vitamin B6 and folate. Since tryptophan is present in chickpeas, this food can boost your mood by converting itself into serotonin, which helps relax your mood.

According to Dr. Kiranmayee, snacks can be made beforehand to carry to the office. Carry a small bowl of black chana salad with boiled black chana, onion, tomatoes, and coriander leaves for those Monday blues. It's delicious and filling all at the same time. Instead of reaching for those namkeen packets in the office cafeteria, bring homemade chiwda (rice flakes) for snacking during the day.

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8. Bananas

Though bananas won’t immediately lift your mood since they cannot directly tell your brain to supply serotonin, a 2007 study published in Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience indicates that they might play a crucial role in indirectly increasing the ability of your brain to produce serotonin. Bananas can do this by releasing vitamin B6 essential to make and use serotonin in your body.

In addition to this, they are also an excellent source of fibre, providing 12 per cent of daily required fibre for adults.


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9. Sweet Potatoes

Another mood-stabilising food on this list has to be sweet potatoes! It contains the antioxidant beta-carotene, which helps in reducing free radical damage caused to the brain. In addition, sweet potatoes can prevent oxidative stress that can lead to DNA damage, causing common emotional issues like depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia.

Treat yourself to a sweet potato snack in the form of delicious roasted fries, or make them a healthy sweet dish by baking them into your oatmeal or pancake batter! This yummy multitasking ingredient is rich in vitamin B6, an essential coenzyme for developing your cognitive ability.


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10. Oatmeal

If you have ever felt good after finishing your oatmeal, it’s undoubtedly because it is rich in tryptophan. This essential amino acid affects your serotonin levels, and the food can put you in a good mood. Additionally, the fibre in oatmeal can make you feel full for longer and regulate your blood sugar.


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11. Figs

Apart from being one of the healthiest snacks, figs are food that can make you happy. They have been the best example of mood foods as they are more driven to lift your mood.

The presence of tryptophan is one reason behind labelling figs as a mood-boosting food. However, they also contain brain-healthy nutrients like potassium, which helps the brain cells do their job, and vitamin B6, to induce neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine.


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12. Eggs

We all know eggs are a great source of protein, but along with that, they are also filled with choline, a nutrient required to control muscles, mood, and memory. They contain vitamin B12, best known for improving your neurological functions.

“If you are running late for work, simply boil some eggs with black pepper, and you will be fine!” says Dr. Kiranmayee.


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13. Turmeric

Dr. Kiranmayee recommends turmeric, especially for those who lack sleep. “Since many working professionals find it difficult to catch on some sleep, they can opt for foods which stimulate the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin for better sleep. Turmeric milk is best to drink at night as turmeric has curcumin as its active ingredient and is an antioxidant and also stimulates serotonin production.”

According to Dr. Kiranmayee, “Taking both traditional knowledge and scientific research into account, as well as nutritional profiles, almonds contain high doses of melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate the sleeping and waking cycle. So, taking four to five soaked almonds in the morning is the best option.”

All is not lost for those who are looking for hot drinks. As Dr. Kiranmayee says, “If you are a tea lover, then chamomile tea is a traditional remedy for sleep issues as it contains a flavonoid compound called apigenin which is responsible for its sleep-inducing properties. Reduce your coffee consumption as it may interfere with your sleep.”


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14. Red Bell Peppers

These vibrantly colourful peppers are rich in vitamin C, which is known to ease anxiety and depression. According to research, vitamin C is an antioxidant that combats oxidative stress for individuals who suffer from anxiety.

And why specifically red bell pepper, you may ask? It’s because these ripe mood-boosting foods have been on the vine longest, hence containing the most nutrition compared to other of its family members. Apart from this, this good-mood food is low in calories along with plenty of nutrients to cheer you up and lift you from a bad mood.


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While the blues can push you towards binging on high-sugar and calorie-rich foods like cookies, ice cream, or waffles, that’s not always an option. It’s important to not forget that treating yourself to these foods once in a while is okay, but when it becomes a weekly occurrence, you might have to make some adjustments.

And if you are regularly feeling lethargic, your body might be telling you to give it more vitamins and tryptophan. Aim to eat these 14 good-mood foods to bring more energy and improve your overall health!


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