If you’ve been feeling a bit blue and looking to regain that pep in your step, then it may be worthwhile paying a visit to your local grocery store. Foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids not only work wonders to improve your physical wellbeing, they also have the potential to increase happiness and lessen symptoms of depression and anxiety.

But How Is It That Foods Can Improve Our Moods?

The answer is by promoting a healthy brain and stimulating cognitive functioning. Certain nutrients have a profound impact on maintaining normal brain function, keeping us happy and healthy. Thanks to science, researchers have actually been able to pinpoint nine nutrients that can boost our mood and combat depression: calcium, folate, chromium, iron, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin D, and zinc.

Eating foods high in these nutrients on a regular basis will not only promote feelings of happiness in the short-term, they can also enhance mood in the long term, providing a permanent pick-me-up. 

Today I’m sharing one of my favorite recipes for promoting feelings of happiness, and one that provides external beauty benefits, too.  It’s a low-cost, healthy option … and most importantly, delicious (who wants to eat something bland when they’re feeling down?!)

Sardines may not immediately strike you as a happy food, but these little guys are sky high in mood boosting omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin B12, and loaded with minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc. They can also make your wallet happy because they’re an inexpensive meal to bring to the table.

A 2012 study reveals that fish oil increases transmission of serotonin in the brain, which controls emotion.  Because of their ability to increase serotonin levels, this makes fish oils a good mood food to include in your diet.

Hair, skin and nails benefit too; sardines are one of the most powerful beauty boosters because their omega-3 content benefits the circulatory system, hydrating the skin, and helping you to avoid incoming wrinkles.  Omega-3s are brilliant at oxygenating your skin tissue, revitalizing and improving your skin tone, and giving you a healthy glow.  They're an integral component of the cell membrane and without them the cell membrane becomes stiff and dehydrated, resulting in dry, flakey skin.

The most intriguing benefit of sardines is that they help to slow the aging process. They’re rich in the vital enzyme CoQ10 which promotes a healthy immune system, restores vitality and is a potent antioxidant. If you’re working towards glowing skin and maintaining your skin’s elasticity, preventing sagging, and having a more youthful appearance, sardines are a better choice than any toxic skin product that you can buy. Another  good reason to step away from the cosmetics counter.

Although fresh is best, canned sardines in extra virgin olive oil are a convenient option, as they require minimum preparation. The good news about sardines is that they’re not mercury heavy like tuna.  You can add them to salads, or combine with lemon juice, olive oil, Celtic sea salt and cracked pepper on a gluten-free cracker for a tasty, nutrient dense snack.

But What If You’re Not A Sardine Fan?

Swap out your oil for flaxseed, chia, or extra virgin olive oil which are also high in Omega 3 and will give you similar benefits.

For a match made in heaven, pair sardines with avocados - a beautifying tool which has been used for centuries. The high levels of vitamin E found in avocados mean that they work as a skin-soothing, moisturizing agent and the vitamin A helps to remove dead skin cells from the body.  It’s often used as a remedy for dry skin or by those who experience eczema.

Because it’s easily absorbed into the deepest layers of the skin, creating the smoothest skin by restoring nutrients, stimulating new cell growth and improving blood circulation, avocado is a wonder food to add to your diet. The healthy oils found in avocados are also used to increase shine and inject moisture into the hair, and work as a great remedy for dry and brittle hair.

To boost your beauty naturally and improve your mood, serve up this dish immediately.

Smashed Sardines With Avocado On Your Favorite Bread


Serves 1

  • 1/2 avocado, peeled and pitted
  • 1 tbsp freshly-squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tsp chopped red chili (optional)
  • Pinch Celtic sea salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 slices gluten-free bread
  • Small handful of rocket (arugula) leaves
  • 120 g (41/4 oz) tinned sardines, smashed
  • Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling


Place the avocado, lime, chili, salt and pepper in a bowl and mash together with a fork.
Toast one or two slices of your favorite gluten-free toasted bread.
Spread the avocado mixture over the bread and top with rocket and smashed sardines.
Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and serve.

Have You Tried Sardines Before? Share Your Favorite Recipe In The Comments Below!