Saturday, July 15, 2023

Favorite Foods for a Good Mood

Food Prep for a Good Mood
food prep with sweet potatoes, bananas, etc.

Most of you who read this blog have probably noticed I am a whole food plant based vegan.

This means I blog about this topic and eat meals that contain no animal products or highly processed foods. 

The Whole Food Plant-based (WFPB) recipes I enjoy sharing with readers and serve to family and friends are those that are simple and fun to make. 

I get a lot of compliments on my health-promoting recipes. I use minimal oil, no refined sugar, and little salt, but pack dishes with flavor from fresh ingredients flavored with herbs, spices, and condiments. 

I have been a vegetarian for over 42 years, gradually refined my eating plan, and am now fully vegan. 

Eat Colorful Fruit and Veggies to Boost Mood

Nowadays most people think it's wise to eat at least 5-9 servings of colorful fruits, veggies, legumes, beans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains each day. 

We need to learn more about nutrition and eat foods that contain an ample supply of the vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytonutrients we need to fuel our bodies, reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases, and feel more joy in daily living.

This post offers details about why eating certain healthy foods can help brighten your outlook, improve your mood, and make you kick up your heels joyfully.


Favorite Foods for a Good Mood

COCOA, the kind that's pure unsweetened cocoa powder, is high in health-promoting flavonoids, and shown to increase blood flow to our brains, reduce inflammation, reduce negative thoughts, and boost our mood. The dark chocolate in candy bars contains refined sugar, so let's refrain from eating that kind. 

2 Cups of Cocoa
two delicious cups of hot chocolate

Sprinkling on a one teaspoon serving of unsweetened cocoa powder to cereal can activate endorphins, hormones that are released by the brain in response to pain or stress and produce a feeling of euphoria. 

Endorphins improve cognitive function and increases serotonin levels too. I prefer to use a teaspoon of pure cocoa and make a cup of hot chocolate, as my dark chocolate treat of the day. 

I'm sure that's why I feel so cheery yet calm after drinking just one cup.

BANANAS are high in vitamin B6, which helps synthesize feel-good neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin.

Eating Bananas Boosts Your Mood

Bananas, especially the greenish colored ones, are a good source of natural plant-based carbs, vitamin B6, and prebiotic fiber, which works together to keep blood sugar levels and mood stable. 

See Why I Adore Eating Bananas for additional banana food facts and serving suggestions.

GINGER, which is the flavorful root of a plant, is effective in easing joint pain, and is a natural anti-inflammatory.

Ginger Tea can be a Mood Booster

Ginger has a well-earned reputation for curing motion sickness, diarrhea, nausea, and indigestion. It helps calm colic and irritable bowel, poor circulation, menstrual cramps, colds, and flu. 

Ginger can also reduce gastrointestinal issues like gas, bloating, and lack of appetite. When our bodies are healthy, our mood reflects it. Read How to Use Ginger in Recipes for Healing and Flavor for additional information.

SWEET POTATOES/YAMS are mood elevators, because they contain magnesium, a nutrient that supports the brain and nervous system. Scientific studies have found a connection between eating foods high in magnesium, and lowering symptoms of depression. 

The substance that gives yellow and orange potatoes their hue is the antioxidant beta-carotene. Beta-carotene helps with reducing free radical damage to brain cells, prevents oxidative stress leading to DNA damage, and when lacking, appears to be common in emotional conditions such as anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia. 

Oven Roasted Sweet Potato Fries
oven roasted sweet potato fries

Carbohydrates in sweet potatoes help with serotonin production. For more read Favorite Fall Fruit and Veggies.

NUTS and SEEDS including Brazil nuts, almonds, and pine nuts are tasty sources of plant-based tryptophan, zinc, and selenium, and may support brain function and lower risk of depression. A 10-year study of 15,980 people linked moderate nut intake to a 23 percent lower risk of depression. 

Deficiency in these minerals, which are important for brain function, is associated with higher rates of depression — although more research is needed.

Eat Nuts and Seeds to Boost Mood
unsalted nuts are good mood food

I love to munch on 1/3 cup of unsalted raw nuts or seeds, as this is a tasty yet appropriate sized portion. Seeds and nuts are good sources of fiber, protein, and plant-based fat necessary for digestion, elimination, and energy. 

Mood-boosting serotonin found in almonds, cashews, peanuts, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and sunflower seeds improves mood as well.

LEAFY GREENS and CRUCIFEROUS VEGETABLES including spinach, lettuce, watercress, arugula, chard, and kale are rich in folate and magnesium. These substances are important in helping to reduce anxiety and boost mood.

Other cruciferous veggies include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, bok choy, and Brussels sprouts. They contain high amounts of chromium, which can increase levels of brain chemicals related to positive feelings, alertness, and energy. These veggies are loaded with fiber, which can help balance blood sugar levels and prevent that depressing blood sugar crash.

Cruciferous Veggies and Greens for a Good Mood
good mood veggies

If you want to enhance your mood, please consider being more mindful and selective, when food shopping and with meal preparation.

Before you go, don't forget to comment below. 

This post is intended for educational and entertainment purposes only and not for nutritional, physical health, or mental health advice. Please check with those professionals, if that is what you want or need. 

I read and appreciate every comment, but will not publish those that contain links. Thanks for understanding. 

Did you learn something new about the relationship between mood and food? Please explain in the comments section below. 

Do you think you'll add more of these foods now that you know they are mood elevators? Please let me know.

Happy Family

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Colors 4 Health

This post has been shared at Full Plate Thursday, 662

This post is a feature at the Hearth and Soul Link Party-September Edition. I'm thrilled and Honored!!!

This post has been shared at What’s for Dinner? Sunday link up 440

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This post has been shared at Talent Sharing Link-up 73 

This post has been shared at TFT#618

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This post has been shared at Welcome to Happiness Is Homemade


  1. Whoda thought? Cocoa sprinkled on cereal to boost my mood. Next time I have my (unsweetened whole grain) cereal I am going to dig out that tin of cocoa I have in the cupboard. And will add a banana--should be yummy and maybe make me chipper!

    1. Enjoyed reading your comment. It made me smile. Thanks for sharing and wish you a beautiful day.

  2. Thanks for the tips on foods to help mood.
    Who doesn't want to feel a little more perky?

    1. I agree with you Beth. Why not do a few simple changes, if it means improving our outlook? Wishing you a beautiful evening.

  3. The only one I can't imagine eating is bananas; I just do no like their flavor or texture.

    1. Thanks for your visit and comment Joanne. Wishing you a beautiful day.

  4. Nancy- thanks for sharing about your vegan lifestyle. Interestingly, I have the same background. I was a vegetarian for 42 years and 3 years ago I became vegan. I adore bananas and eat two everyday!

  5. Thanks Judee. I enjoy seeing your blog, Gluten Free A-Z Blog, with its creative vegan recipes and fun to know you eat two bananas every day.

  6. I am not vegetarian or vegan, although our son and his family is vegan for the past 15 years or so! I do a lot of vegan food cooking etc when they visit as we will not serve anything but vegan then. I am happy with only vegan food and lately tend to gravitate more and more to vegan and love it.
    Thank you from your SSPS Team for sharing your links with us at #270 SSPS Linky.
    If you have not as yet shared your IG and FB URL and handles, please email me at otherwise please ignore.

    1. Thanks Esme. You are one considerate mom and your family must surely appreciates it. Love the SSPS blog parties and will be back again. Have a beautiful week and be well.

  7. This is very interesting. I'm going to start including more of these foods in my diet.

    1. Thanks Donna for the visit and comment. Please let me know if you notice an improvement in your mood. They are all healthy so if nothing else they will up your health quotient. Wishing you a beautiful day.

  8. This is a brilliant post, Nancy! Our moods are so affected by what we eat, and you have included such wonderful practical advice. I'm pleased to report I like all of these foods, except watercress, so it will be a real pleasure to add more of them to my diet. Thank you so much for sharing this post with Hearth and Soul. I will be featuring it at the September Edition of the party which goes live on Sunday 3rd September. Hope to see you there!

    1. Thanks April. I'm thrilled and honored to be a feature at the Sept. Hearth & Soul Party. Have a beautiful day and THANKS again.

  9. We are trying to eat more plant based - for health and the environment. Thanks for sharing at the what's for dinner party.

    1. Hi Helen and good morning, Have you noticed an improvement in your mood since you started to eat more plant based? Your body, the planet, and I appreciate it. Thanks for hosting What's for Dinner Sunday Link up and keep up the good work.

  10. I love all the foods you mentioned. Thanks for sharing the mood enhancers.

    1. Thanks Jocelyn for the visit and comment. You must be in a good mood most of the time, if you eat them. Have a good night.