Good Mood Food: What To Eat To Get Happy

I’ll put my hands up: I am the definition of an emotional eater. Turn to the page ‘emotional eater’ in the dictionary and there I am, ladling spaghetti carbonara post-breakup, avoiding a deadline with a biscuit and treating myself to mounds of dim sum after a tough day.

But has anyone ever felt any better after mainlining carbs to try and combat the blues? I don’t know about you but, after that initial comfort factor, I end up feeling worse. Still grumpy, agg or sad, but with an extra few pounds of jacket potato weighing me down and a carb coma to contend with.

Newsflash: it doesn’t have to be like that. Our minds are so heavily governed by what we eat that it really makes sense to get to know which ‘good mood foods’ are actually beneficial and might help us navigate our way through anxiety, SAD, hormone imbalances or just feeling down in the dumps.

With an estimated 90% of serotonin – frequently referred to as ‘the happy hormone’ – and 50% of dopamine (which produces feelings of love, joy and reward) being made in the gut, it’s high time we wised up to the real concept of feeding our brains. Turning to the usual starchy carbs (hello, mashed potato) and the nearest tub of ice cream plays havoc with blood sugar levels and is not a good idea for anyone with anxiety levels on red alert.

Instead, we asked nutritional therapist and co-author of The Happy Kitchen, Alice Mackintosh to talk us through some foods she reckons are top happy-eating ingredients…

The Happy Kitchen: Good Food Mood by Rachel Kelly and Alice Mackintosh is published by Short Books, £14.99 in paperback.
If you do feel overwhelmingly unhappy, medical help is always the answer. Please schedule an appointment with your GP.