When we associate food with happiness, most of us will dream about tucking into cottage pie made from our mum’s recipe or pasta bakes that the kids love because they are simple and filling. However, this instant spike in happiness and positive thoughts is often closely followed by a sluggish, lethargic feeling which can decrease productivity. Some foods can even have a negative impact on your mood too.

At Kirsty’s, we’ve made it our mission to help those who suffer from the winter blues by sourcing the top five foods that will help promote positive thoughts and banish negativity.

1.Raw walnuts and cashews: if you are a regular snacker, make sure to add these to your snack list because they can help alleviate feelings of anxiety and depression. This is largely down to their rich content of zinc. We’ve found a useful article on how zinc can counteract feelings of depression and anxiety here.

2.Chocolate: the antioxidant properties of chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, house the added benefit of lowering blood pressure, as well as inducing happiness and decreasing feelings of stress. That’ll be why we’re always reaching for a bar when we’re stressed, then!

3.Coffee: we all know how much caffeine can ‘perk you up’ in the morning, but what about the long-term effect it has on us? The Harvard school of public health wanted to find out too, and so, carried out a study on 40,000 men and 150,000 women, which found that coffee helped people become more positive in life and a lowered the suicide rate by 50%, for those who drank between two to four cups of coffee every day. If you wanted to go one better and incorporate a little coffee and a little dark chocolate into your life you could always try baking a delicious recipe like this Dark Chocolate Mousse with Espresso to get that double whammy of feel-good.

4.Green Tea: another hot beverage which promotes a similar feeling to coffee is green tea. A study involving more than a thousand elderly adults in Japan, who reported drinking 4+ cups of green tea a day were also 44% less likely to experience mild or severe depression. This is due to the amino acids green tea possesses, which help to increase the brain’s supply of two mood-boosting chemicals: serotonin and dopamine.

5.Bananas: the popular fruit contains tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier. The vitamin B6 it contains regulates blood glucose levels, which can also affect your mood.

On the subject of B6, did you know that it helps the body create cortisol? A hormone produced by your adrenal glands, helps your body manage the effects of stress by ensuring efficient delivery of blood sugar and other nutrients to areas in need, suppressing inflammation.

All of these foods contribute to positive mood changes, and regular consumption will help sustain those happy thoughts for even longer, especially in the winter months when we aren’t getting enough vitamin D from sunlight, which has been known to be a mood booster.

If you’ve tried incorporating these foods into your diet on a regular basis and it has enhanced your happiness levels, we would love to hear about it! Get in touch with us via our social channels: FacebookTwitter & Instagram and share your thoughts with us, we love to hear them!