There are many things we can do to help keep ourselves mentally healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic. Staying connected to others, eating well, exercising and sticking to a routine are great places to start. But did you know that there are some foods that can assist to level out and even boost our mood?

You may have heard of the neurotransmitter serotonin. Together with dopamine, it is responsible for regulating mood along with a wide variety of other functions in our body. Also known as the "feel good" chemical, good levels of serotonin can contribute to a happy and healthy you.

How can we keep our serotonin levels in check? Importantly, many foods contain an amino acid called tryptophan which is a critical building block to creating serotonin. Humans rely on foods to get tryptophan as it is not created by the body. Consuming foods that are rich in tryptophan can help your body to create healthy amount of serotonin, thereby assisting in good mood.

There are number of foods that are rich in tryptophan and today we show you how you can include them in a smoothie guaranteed to make you feel good. 

MOD's top mood boosting foods

Bananas - this fruit bowl staple is packed full of tryptophan as well as vitamins A, B6 and C, fibre, potassium, phosphorous and iron 

Pineapple - not just for summer, pineapple is known for its ability to aid digestive issues. It contains bromelain which has strong anti-inflammatory effects but is also a great source of tryptophan

Kiwi fruit - full of fibre, kiwi fruit are also great for keeping a healthy heart, but have also been linked to improving sleep and also contain a good dose of tryptophan

Spinach - dark, leafy veg like spinach are an amazing source of iron but is also rich in vitamins A, C and K, magnesium, iron and manganese. It is one of the best sources of tryptophan out there.

Chia seeds - these little guys are packed with omega 3 which has been shown to fight mood swings and reduce risk of depression.

This tasty, tropical smoothie is so moreish you'll be wanting to make it every day! Every single ingredient is known to boost mood (aside from the plant milk or coconut water, but hey, we all know the importance of good hydration!) so you can enjoy it knowing it's doing both your body and mind the world of good!