Mood Boosting Foods

Mood Boosting Foods

It is Valentine’s Day, and love is in the air!

Dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin are often referred to as our “happy hormones.” They flood our systems during moments of attraction, pleasure, or even indulgence in our favourite foods. In this blog post, we break down the relationship between food and the activation of these feel-good chemicals.




Dopamine, also known as the ‘’reward neurotransmitter’’, can be triggered by various activities and pleasurable experiences, including consuming tasty foods. While sugary and fatty foods can provide a temporary dopamine release, many more nutritious options also stimulate dopamine production due to specific compounds and nutrients.


Tyrosine-rich foods: Tyrosine, an amino acid essential for dopamine synthesis, is abundant in protein-rich foods such as soy products, nuts, seeds, and legumes like beans and lentils. Other tyrosine-rich options include almonds, apples, avocados, bananas, beets, oatmeal, olive oil, oregano, peanuts, rosemary, sesame and pumpkin seeds, watermelon, and foods high in natural probiotics like plant-based yogurt, and raw sauerkraut.
Magnesium-rich foods: Magnesium is an essential building block for dopamine production. Examples of magnesium-rich foods include pumpkin seeds, almonds, spinach, cashews, and peanuts.
Turmeric and ginkgo biloba: While further research is needed, turmeric and ginkgo biloba have shown potential in supporting dopamine levels or activity in the brain, as observed in traditional medicine practices for cognitive health.
Bananas: Bananas are rich in tyrosine and phenylalanine, two dopamine precursors.
Blueberries: Blueberries are loaded with antioxidants and flavonoids. They may support cognitive health and enhance dopamine activity.
Dark chocolate: Dark chocolate (>70%) contains compounds like phenylethylamine, which can stimulate dopamine release and induce feelings of pleasure and satisfaction.
Black and green tea: Green tea contains L-theanine, an amino acid that may increase dopamine levels in the brain.
Coffee: Similar to tea, coffee is a high-caffeine beverage that boosts energy and hormone levels, potentially increasing dopamine and productivity.


Serotonin, another crucial neurotransmitter, plays a vital role in mood regulation and overall well-being. Found in the brain as a neurotransmitter and in the blood as a hormone, serotonin relies on tryptophan, an essential amino acid obtained from food.


90% of serotonin is produced and utilised by the gut to regulate secretions and food movement through the intestines. Low serotonin levels can impact mood, energy levels, sleep patterns, behaviour, appetite, gut motility, and blood sugar regulation.


To support healthy serotonin levels, you should include the following foods into your diet:


Complex carbohydrates: Rich in complex carbohydrates, foods like oats, brown rice, and whole wheat bread indirectly increase serotonin levels by facilitating tryptophan entry into the brain. Carbohydrates stimulate insulin release, clearing other amino acids from the bloodstream and making tryptophan more available for serotonin synthesis.
Protein: Tryptophan, found in protein-rich foods like beans, tofu, soybeans, nuts, and seeds, serves as a precursor to serotonin production.
Omega-3 fatty acids: Essential for brain health, omega-3 fatty acids from sources like flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, and hemp seeds may indirectly support serotonin function.
Bananas: Bananas are rich in tryptophan and vitamin B6, which aid in serotonin synthesis.

Leafy greens: Leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale, and Swiss chard are packed with folate (vitamin B9), which is essential for serotonin regulation and overall brain health.
Probiotics: While research is limited, adding probiotics to your diet may potentially improve serotonin levels.


Oxytocin is often called the "love hormone" or "bonding hormone" because it is released during social bonding activities, such as hugging, cuddling, or sharing a meal with loved ones. While food itself doesn't directly increase oxytocin levels, the act of sharing a meal with others can create social bonding and the release of oxytocin.



To conclude, the food we eat can greatly impact our mood and our experiences of love, happiness and overall well-being. Happy Valentines Day and  En Guete!

Back to blog