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By Julia Haimovich, Accredited Practicing Dietitian.

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Nutrition for Happiness: the Secrets of Enhanced Mood and Health Chemistry
Nutrition for Happiness: the Secrets of Enhanced Mood and Health Chemistry

Nutrition for Happiness: the Secrets of Enhanced Mood and Health Chemistry

The connection between happiness hormones, nutritious eating, physiology, and
neurotransmitters (chemical substances transmitting signals between nerve cells) are quite
intricate and involves several key elements.

Serotonin, a neurotransmitter crucial for mood regulation, is produced from the amino acid
tryptophan, obtained from food. Vitamin B6 also plays a vital role in this process. Certain
foods like bananas, nuts, and dark chocolate contain tryptophan and can contribute to
increased serotonin levels.

Dopamine, linked to pleasure and reward, is derived from tyrosine, an amino acid also
obtained from food. Tyrosine-rich foods include white meat, fish, milk, and dairy products.
Endorphins act as natural analgesics and induce a sense of euphoria. Physical activity, such as
sports, can stimulate the release of endorphins. Additionally, dark chocolate and spicy foods
can aid in their secretion.

Blood sugar levels influence energy and mood. Consuming complex carbohydrates, such as
whole grains, can help maintain stable blood sugar levels and prevent abrupt mood swings.
Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish oil and other products, can positively impact the brain and
nervous system, contributing to mood improvement.

The overall concept is that a healthy and balanced diet promotes the normal functioning of
the brain and the production of necessary chemicals influencing mood and emotional well–
being. Physical activity also has a positive effect on the release of happiness hormones and
can enhance overall physical and mental health.


Briguglio M, Dell’Osso B, Panzica G, et al. Dietary Neurotransmitters: A Narrative Review
On Current Knowledge. Nutrients. 2018;10(5):591. doi:10.3390/nu10050591.
Benton D. Can functional foods modify mood? Food Sci Technol Bull. 2006;2(5):49-57.
AlAmmar WA, Albeesh FH, Khattab RY. Food and mood: The corresponsive effect. Curr
Nutr Rep. 2020;9(3):296-308.
Constantin ET, Fonseca S. The effect of food on mental health. Rev Int Educ Saude
Ambiente. 2020;3(2):1-17.

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