A nutritionist writes | Good Mood Food

Our expert team of Nutritionists works daily with clients, employees, and members who want to improve their food intake and make positive changes to their lifestyles.

Sarah West, Head of Nutrition here at Teladoc Health, highlights foods that are good for both body and mind.

As most of our serotonin (a feel-good hormone!) is found in the gut, it is likely that what we choose to eat will affect our mental state. For this reason, it is really important to fuel your body with the right nutrition to support you both mentally and physically.


What does it do?                                                                                        

Potassium is a natural muscle relaxant that helps regulate blood pressure, ease anxiety, and promote relaxation.

Good food sources:

  • Bananas
  • Avocados
  • Potatoes
  • Citrus fruits
  • Leafy greens
  • Legumes


How to incorporate these into your day:

Spending more time at home is the perfect opportunity to knock up a banana bread! Or simply add mashed avocado to toast or beans to a warming chilli or jacket potato to optimise your potassium intake.



What does it do?

Magnesium helps regulate the nervous system, minimising feelings of restlessness and anxiety. It may also promote improved sleep quality and help alleviate aches, pains and muscle tension.

Good food sources:

  • Dark chocolate
  • Seeds
  • Nuts
  • Wholegrain bread
  • Beans
  • Lentils


How to incorporate these foods into your diet:

Enjoy a relaxing bath with Epsom salts to naturally boost your magnesium levels. For a magnesium-rich snack between meals, opt for dark chocolate with nuts.


Omega-3 Fats

What do they do?

Omega-3 fats are thought to have mood-boosting, anti-inflammatory properties that may help to support mood and minimize the risk of depression.

Good food sources:

  • Olive oil
  • Salmon
  • Mackerel
  • Anchovies
  • Sardines
  • Walnuts


How to cook with these:

Add mashed anchovies or salmon to your lunch, seasoned with lime and chili flakes. Alternatively, a handful of nuts or a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil makes a great meal addition to help support a healthy mindset.



What does it do?

There is some evidence to suggest that selenium may help to reduce oxidative damage associated with depression. Interestingly, deficiency has been observed in individuals suffering from depression.

Good food sources:

  • Brazil nuts
  • Prawns
  • Eggs
  • Tuna
  • Pork
  • Beef
  • Chicken


How to incorporate:

Need a quick mid-afternoon pick-me-up? Just three Brazil nuts will provide you with your daily recommended selenium intake – they’re pretty tasty, too! Alternatively, add prawns to a stir fry, tuna to a salad, or poached eggs to toast.



What does it do?

L-tryptophan is an amino acid commonly found in protein sources, converted into serotonin (known as the feel good hormone) in the brain. Serotonin is also sleep-regulating, which may help to establish a sense of calm and improve both sleep duration and quality. Many protein sources also boost your norepinephrine levels, a neurotransmitter which may help improve concentration and cognitive function.

Good food sources:

  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Seeds
  • Nuts


How to include these in your meals:

Try to ensure that you always add a source of protein to your meals to top up your tryptophan levels. Combine with a source of complex carbohydrates to promote serotonin uptake in the brain. Complex carbohydrates are also an excellent source of B vitamins, the levels of which can deplete during stress.


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