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The mood, food connection... how your plate can shape your state

A blissful banana smoothie

Food is not just fuel for our bodies, it can also have a profound impact on our mental well-being. Whether it’s a mood-boosting snack or a comforting meal, the right foods can work wonders on our state of mind.

This week, we will embark on a flavourful journey through the fascinating world of food and its influence on mental health, sprinkled with a dash of humour and a dollop of insight.

The blissful banana

A peel-good mood booster: Let’s start with a fruit that's both a comedy prop and a serious mood enhancer — the banana. This potassium-packed wonder not only comes in its own convenient packaging but also contains tryptophan, a precursor to serotonin, the “feel-good” neurotransmitter. So, the next time you are feeling low, go bananas for a natural mood lift!

Dark chocolate

The sweet escape from stress: Who knew that indulging in a square of dark chocolate could be a guilt-free remedy for a tough day? Dark chocolate contains antioxidants called flavonoids, which have been shown to reduce stress hormones. So, when life gives you lemons, reach for a piece of dark chocolate and let the stress melt away in a delicious haze of cocoa goodness.

The gut-brain tango

Fermented foods and emotional harmony: Fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut may seem like quirky side dishes, but they play a crucial role in nurturing our gut microbiome, which in turn influences our mental well-being. Research suggests that a happy gut can lead to a happy mind. So, embrace the tangy, funky flavours and let your gut and brain dance in delightful harmony.

Comfort food

The truth about emotional eating: We have all been there — seeking solace in a pint of ice cream or a bag of chips during a tough time. However, while comfort food offers temporary relief, it's essential to recognise the difference between nourishing the soul and numbing emotions. Instead of drowning sorrows in a sea of snacks, let’s savour the joy of mindful eating and seek healthier ways to process our emotions.

Spice up your life

Culinary adventures for mental zest: Tired of the same old routine? Shake things up in the kitchen and add a dash of adventure to your meals. Experimenting with new cuisines and flavours can ignite your taste buds and spark excitement in your day-to-day life. Whether it’s a fiery curry or a zesty salsa, embracing culinary diversity can infuse your world with flavour and vitality.

Laughter is the best seasoning

The joyful ritual of sharing meals: In the midst of our hectic lives, sharing a meal with loved ones can be a heartwarming experience. The act of coming together, savouring delicious dishes, and sharing laughter can create cherished memories and strengthen bonds. So, gather around the table, share stories, and let the joy of togetherness season your meals with love and laughter.


As we savour the delightful dance of flavours and nutrients, let’s not underestimate the impact of food on our mental health. From bananas to dark chocolate, fermented foods

Absolutely! Here are some delicious and simple recipes that tie into the themes of the food column:

Blissful banana smoothie


2 ripe bananas

1 cup plain Greek yogurt

1/2 cup milk (dairy or plant-based)

1 tablespoon honey

A pinch of cinnamon (optional)


Place the bananas, Greek yogurt, milk, and honey in a blender.

Blend until smooth and creamy.

Pour into glasses, sprinkle with a pinch of cinnamon if desired, and enjoy this mood-boosting smoothie.

Dark chocolate-covered strawberries


Fresh strawberries, rinsed and dried

Dark chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate

Optional toppings: chopped marula nuts/Any nut available, shredded coconut, or sea salt


In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the dark chocolate in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until smooth.

Dip each strawberry into the melted chocolate, allowing any excess to drip off.

Place the dipped strawberries on a parchment-lined tray and sprinkle with your choice of toppings if desired.

Refrigerate until the chocolate is set, then indulge in these stress-relieving sweet treats.

Tangy cabbage  and avocado toast


2 slices of whole grain bread, toasted

Ripe avocado, sliced

Fried cabbage

Sesame seeds for garnish

Optional: a drizzle of hot chutney  or a sprinkle of red pepper flakes


Spread the sliced avocado on the toasted bread.

Top with a generous spoonful of cabbage, that has been fried with a tsp of butter, well seasoned with salt and pepper for about 10-15 min . Must still be crunchy.

Sprinkle with sesame seeds and add a touch of heat with hot chutney  or red pepper flakes if desired.

Enjoy this gut-friendly and flavour-packed toast for a unique culinary adventure.

These recipes are not only easy to prepare but also incorporate ingredients known for their potential benefits to mental health.

Whether it’s a creamy banana smoothie, indulgent dark chocolate-covered strawberries, or a tangy kimchi and avocado toast, each dish offers a delightful culinary experience that can contribute to emotional well-being.

  • Muzamhindo is a young chef with seven years’ experience in a professional kitchen and has enjoyed the concept of food since the tender age of two. She studied at the South African Chefs Academy in Cape Town and the Culinary Arts Academy in Zimbabwe to become a level three advanced chef. Her specialties range from indigenous ingredients to fine dining, gourmet food, food health and safety and food research and development. — ruwarashemuzamhindo@ gmail.com

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