How to eat yourself happy

eat yourself happy Grace at CountryWivesI like to pride myself on being a reasonably good wife. I’m always home when Darling Breadwinner gets in from his commute, waiting to greet him with a smile (or something approximating that). He gets a glass of something thrust into his hand and the pleasure of yummy fragrances wafting from the kitchen. The house is always immaculate (OK, OK, that’s thanks to our wonderful cleaning lady). The ironing is done and put away. Blah blah bloody blah.

Generally I am very happy with my lot, after all I am what they euphemistically call a “lady of leisure”- but sometimes I get a teeny bit peeved that he is always off doing exciting things. My list, on the other hand, is headed up by a) yet another supermarket visit and b) pulling up ground elder. I dream of booking a trip to Japan at blossom time, seeing the Northern Lights while reclining in a glass topped igloo smoking marijuana and/or spending meditative months in an ashram.  All things, btw, that Husband isn’t remotely interested in doing. But I don’t do any of them. Why? Well, the main reason is no spare cash, but I also have this old fashioned notion that I shouldn’t go off and leave Husband to fend for himself for any length of time. My head tells me he’d be lost without my support – when the reality is he would absolutely love a week of takeaways, the village pub and endless replays of CountryFile. Oh well, one day…

So to lift my mood and, as eating is one of my all time favourite occupations, I thought it would be interesting to find out if there are any particular foods that will make us happy. And blow me down, there are. It all comes down to the brain. Apparently a healthy cognitive system is essential to regulating mood, and certain nutrients have a profound impact on maintaining normal brain function.  Researchers have identified the nutrients that can combat depression and boost our mood. They are: calcium, chromium, folate, iron, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin D, and zinc.

Here’s the list. As ever, what’s publicised as being good for you one day, is usually slammed a few months later as being positively bad for you. So you may wish to take this with a pinch of salt!  However, what I can guarantee is that you’ll be happy with the links I’ve added to some of our most popular CW recipes – they are crowd pleasers and, in most cases, very easy to prepare…

DARK CHOCOLATE Not only is it delish, dark chocolate is high in magnesium, a mineral that calms your muscles and reduces anxiety. It also contains tryptophan, which helps reduce symptoms of depression. A few ounces (not two economy size giant bars – my usual weakness) of dark chocolate will improve blood flow and provide an instant boost to your mood and concentration. It may well boost your libido too.  Beef Chilli with Bitter Chocolate

GREEK YOGURT A wonder-food, the probiotics in Greek yogurt help boost your mood. Fat free yoghurt recipes

SALMON Packed with omega-3s, which help fight off depression and mood swings. Roast Harissa Salmon with Couscous

eat yourself happy grace at countrywivesASPARAGUS Contains tryptophan, used by our brains to make serotonin, one of the main mood-stabilising neurotransmitters. Try One Pot Salmon & Asparagus

CHICKEN Contains B12, which can make you moody and tired if you don’t get enough of it. Vitality Chicken Salad with Avocado Dressing

SPINACH Stocked with folic acid, a B vitamin that has been found to boost your mood.  Spinach & Ricotta Pie

eat yourself happy grace at countrywivesHONEY Has kaempferol and quercetin that help prevent depression. Warm Honey Cup Puddings

STRAWBERRIES A rich source of vitamin C, which helps in the production of endorphins. Strawberry, Goat Cheese & Pesto Bruschetta

BANANAS The natural sugars in bananas are released quickly into the bloodstream, making you feel energetic. Also contains plenty of starchy carbohydrate, which sustains your good mood. Banana Tarte Tatin

Happy eating!


Hundreds more ‘tried & tasted’ recipes here


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4 years ago

As a 51 pre menopausal mum to 2 boys aged 13 and 10, I need all the help I can get and am a firm believer in healthy eating, ( most of the time!! ) I eat Greek yoghurt everyday with raw honey and nuts and it is delicious. I don’t eat meat but love salmon and I try to eat spinach a couple of times a week.
I also know when I have eaten too much of the white stuff as I feel sluggish and horrible, food is an amazing tool if treated correctly! Its a shame it has taken me so long to learn this!!

Annabel & Grace
4 years ago
Reply to  Rebecca

Thanks so much for writing in Rebecca. Delighted to hear you have such a great regime. Best wishes, Grace