New research released by Love Fresh Cherries and Opinium found that only 7% of people in the UK said they tried changing their diets to combat low moods after Christmas and New Year.

Tackle the January blues with these delicious winter foods that are widely believed to improve your mood. Nutritionist Anita Bean recommends swapping comfort foods like bread, crisps and potato-based dishes for lighter meals containing essential antioxidants that encourage the release of serotonin — happiness hormone. She says, “We all have times when we feel down in the dumps, but lifestyle factors such as eating a healthy diet containing lots of fruit and vegetables, getting outside in the fresh air a and spending time with loved ones can really help to lift our moods.”

Anita shares her expert tips on how to eat for happiness.


Cherries help your brain release serotonin, as well as the hormone melatonin, which promotes healthy sleep patterns. Try adding a handful of dark cherries — they’re higher in the antioxidants that help with digestion and boosting energy levels — to some Greek yoghurt in the morning, with a little drizzle of honey for sweetness.


Studies show that eating a handful of nuts a day can also increase levels of serotonin. Anita recommends snacking on almonds, walnuts or pistachios. Pumpkin seeds also boost serotonin levels and are delicious additions to a warm salad or pesto pasta.

Dark chocolate

Sometimes, chocolate is good for you — it contains high levels of phenols that cause the brain to release endorphins and boost mood. Though it provides essential nutrients, dark chocolate has a lot of calories, so eat in moderation. Three squares after dinner is ideal.


We know bananas are a great source of potassium, but they also contain tryptophan and vitamin B6 which are essential for the production of that good old happiness hormone, serotonin. They also contain carbohydrates, which trigger the production of insulin to further raise happiness levels in the brain.


Oats have a low glycaemic index — meaning they have low levels of synthetic sugars and carbohydrates — so are great sources of slow release energy. This will regulate your hunger levels and prevent blood sugar spikes that in turn stop you getting tired and moody.

For more health advice and healthy eating guides take a look at our health and food & drink pages.