These cold, grey months can leave even the best of us feeling gloomy. But when your mood is falling as fast as the mercury, it’s time to take action.
So put down that pot of strong black coffee and pick up these four naturally mood enhancing ingredients (which we LOVE using in our recipes). You’ll be feeling better in no time.

Legumes

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Good old legumes. Not only do they make the cosiest winter stews, but lentils and beans are packed with magnesium – a mineral high in energy-boosting serotonin.

At this time of year, our favourite way of serving lentils is in a warm winter salad. Rich in protein and fibre, it makes the perfect lunch on a chilly day.

Get the recipe at Delicious Everyday.

Oily Fish

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Studies have long linked deficiencies of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids to depression, as well as to SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). The theory goes that higher omega-3 levels may make it easier for serotonin to pass through cell membranes, as well as helping the body maintain a higher level of dopamine.

Because our body can’t make omega-3 fatty acids itself, we’ve got to eat them – and oily fish is the number one source. While simple grilled fish is a delight in itself, we love this recipe for mackerel with peppercorns and coconut milk. The perfect winter warmer for these cold months.

Find the recipe at Playful Cooking.

Walnuts

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Walnuts are loaded with serotonin, a chemical in your brain that promotes happiness, calm and a good night’s sleep. With up to 304 micrograms of serotonin per gram, this stress-busting snack is great for anybody who has trouble nodding off at night.

As well as making a delicious snack, walnuts also make the perfect addition to salads. Satisfyingly crisp with a slightly bitter note, they’re delicious in a pear and spinach salad. Try this recipe from the Minimalist Baker.

Dark Chocolate

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Good news, guys. Dark chocolate has been shown to increase the body’s production of phenylalanine. This chemical increases dopamine in the brain, which in turn helps block nerve endings to different types of pain, such as seasonal depression. So to sum up: dark chocolate is good for you.

Just make sure you opt for a dairy-free variety with at least 70 per cent cocoa. Or why not whip up some cocoa? This recipe for anti-inflammatory hot chocolate is as cosy as could be – without a hint of dairy or refined sugar.
Get Sarah Wilson’s recipe here.