the brain science of Happy Food

Neurotransmitters are the brain’s chemical messengers that deliver information between one neuron (nerve cell) to another.

Specific neurotransmitters regulate energy, carbohydrate cravings, and sleep cycles, and shape our overall mood.

a.Vitamins, minerals, and protein

which aid in the production of neurotransmitters and aid the transmission of messages.


find B6 here



dry fruits





find B12 here



*full fat yoghourt

b. Amino acids

Tryptophan is the amino acid that is converted to serotonin, our “happy” neurotransmitter. About 20 percent of serotonin resides in the central nervous system, helping to regulate mood, sleep, and appetite.

A serotonin deficiency is largely correlated to depression. This is especially important for women as they tend to synthesize 52 percent less serotonin than men. 

Since some amino acids compete for absorption, it’s important to incorporate foods with a higher percentage of tryptophan as a percentage of protein

Find tryptophan here.

Excellent sources include

*egg whites,

*sesame seeds, ( try the koulouri)

*beans,(try mavromatika, ladera,fresca)



*chicken, (ask for xoriatiko)

and turkey.


Sixty percent of the brain is made up of fat, and omega-3 fatty acids are among the most important fats.

A 2007 meta-analysis of 10 studies found that omega-3s had significant effects in treating depression and bipolar disorder, but overall research results have been inconsistent.

Omega-3s improve the communication of neurotransmitters across synapses.

find Omega3 here

Direct sources of EPA and DHA (essential omega-3 fatty acids) are naturally found in oily fish, such as






Classic sources of Omega3 include





and cod.

Plant-based sources of omega-3s in the form of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) are converted into EPA and DHA in the body, however, at modest amounts. Sources of ALA include flaxseeds and flaxseed oil,

pumpkin seeds

pumpkin seed oil,


 walnut oil.


Studies suggest that this trace mineral can improve mood. The intake of 100 mcg of selenium per day over a five-week period was associated with lower feelings of depression, anxiety, hostility, irritably and fatigue.

find Selenium here

Brazil nuts are one of the highest sources of selenium, with one to two nuts supplying 100 to 200 mcg.

Other sources include

*seafood :


   *clam (78%)

   *shrimp (60%).,

    *lobster (89%)

*sunflower seeds ( find them at the cinemas)

* whole grain (bread)

e. folate

it helps regulate the amount of mood regulating serotonin and dopamine as well noradrenaline that is produced in the brain 

find folate here



*figs (DRIED)





g. lycopene

Helps to fight the inflammation of the brain and generally protects the brain

find lecopene here

*red garbage




h. Zinc 

Calms the body and stabilizes mood.

When under stress, zinc reserves in the body can become depleted. Lower levels of zinc can lead to mood swings and agitation. 

find Zinc here




*radicchio (popular boiled salad in Greece)

*green salad



g. magnesium,

a mineral that helps stabilize mood by regulating blood sugar levels.Clinical studies have found that a dietary deficiency of magnesium combined with excess calcium and stress may cause symptoms associated with depression including agitation, anxiety, irritability, and insomnia.

find magnesium here
*Greek yoghurt
*feta cheese
*green beans( fasolakia)
*dark chocolate

any time in the day 

h. Superoxide dismutase

Superoxide dismutase (SOD) is a primary antioxidant clinically proven to improve stress and fatigue. In a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial, French researchers found that this antioxidant supplement derived from melon juice concentrate decreased the signs and symptoms of perceived stress and fatigue in 70 healthy volunteers.

the long, happy, simple, life philosophy

Longevity no-no No. 1. 

On Ikaria, watches are as useless as speed bumps. Ikarians are famous for moving at their own pace, working when they want to work, chilling when they want to chill.

Do as the Ikarians do, and you'll add years to your life, and life to your years:

Eat Your Greens. Over 150 kinds of wild greens grow all over the island, and Ikarians enjoy them in a variety of tasty salads and pies. They're a super source of anti-oxidants, and eaten, like almost everything else, with a splash of olive oil on top.

Drink Herbal Tea. Ikarians drink endless cups of tea made from wild mint, chamomile and other local herbs high in compounds that significantly lower blood pressure and decrease their risk of heart disease and dementia.

Take a Nap. Ikarians take daily 30-minute naps at least five times a week.

Blue Zone researchers calculate this lowers their risk of heart attacks by 35 percent!

In a few of the mountain villages, they sleep by day and live through the night. Why? Because they want to.

Keep Moving. Ikarians live in remote steep villages that require vigorous walking. They keep gardens, tend to animals and get lots of exercise every day without even thinking about it.

Connect to Community. Ikarians put family first. Their strong social ties, to their neighbors, to their villages, promotes longevity and lowers depression.

Get Your Goat. Ikarians avoid dairy but consume gallons of goat's milk, rich in blood-pressure-lowering tryptophan and anti-bacterial compounds. They drink it straight, or make it into yogurt or cheese, including an amazing blue goat cheese served to us one night at dinner. Bliss!

Eat the Ikarian Way. Ikarians thrive on local fresh food, all of it organic and unprocessed. Their version of the Mediterranean diet is

high in vegetables,


potatoes olive oil,

and low in meat,



and whole grains.

They drink a glass or two of local wine a day — absent nitrates and pesticides —

and benefit hugely from daily doses of their local honey, a unique blend rich in anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory compounds.

"Based on interviews, we have reason to believe that most Ikarians over 90 are sexually active." — Dan Buettner

more by the source of this article for MORE

More mood-boosting tips

To stay healthy and happy, registered dietician Brenda Arychuk recommends:

  • Instead of focusing on just one mood-boosting nutrient, concentrate on eating a balanced diet to minimize nutritional deficiencies.

  • Reduce your intake of bad fats (saturated and trans), and increase your intake of good fats such as omega-3 fatty acid.

  • Don’t skip meals. Three meals and two to three snacks each day will give your brain constant fuel.

  • Skip the sugary and fatty snacks, as they cause blood sugar levels to spike.

  • Avoid low-carb diets. Carbs are good for you when you eat the right ones.

  • Take a vitamin D supplement daily and, depending on your dairy intake, a calcium one too.

more, by
editors' note: sunshine is a blessing in Greece, if you Keep Protected. You can take advantage of the sunny days while in Greece and let your body synthesize naturally the vitamn D.
Enjoy that euphoria!
 Learn more on our
Dance in the Light Page

Visit also our
SunKiss and Protection in Greece
by moodhacker, Greek to me !


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What if  you woke up  in a place where every bite of food would be of happiness..

Our Greek2m Proposal

1. Start with a great breakfast

  • Greek coffee
  • orange juice
  • fresh eggs from the village with wild asparagus if found
  • sesame bread
  • tomatinos Santorini

  • through the day

  • Greek yoghourt
  •  honey, 
  • walnuts
you can keep this serving for late night dessert, according to old Greek tradition, that;s what a man needs to make him sexy!

3. Meals

  • Green fresh Salads, Greek Salad by feta Cheese by olive oil, and tomatoes also
  • Clumps, octapus, Sardines for main courses
  • whole grain bread

5.for dessert

  • Yoghourt, may be again for dessert
  • a little chocolate
  • strawberries, figs, melon, watermelon
  • coconut, if found


  • Good Red wine

Ouzo to accompany your sefood, ocatpus, sardines

This is Greece, Yes, you can!

That's what Greece is for. Adding the sea=sun+ Happiness factor, you are allowed to experience some of the happiest days , by just sensing and relaxing  

This is Greece,

You are on Greek to me !

As of Happy Food, classically recommended are:

the greek2m
version is here

1. Eggs

Eggs contain moderate-to-large amounts of Zinc, Vitamin B, Iodine, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, and protein. Not only can eggs keep you energized, they can also keep you full (stomach-wise) for longer! A 2008 study in the “International Journal of Obesity” found that people who had eggs for breakfast lost considerably more weight, compared to those who ate bagels for breakfast.

es, real eggs, straight from the chicken! You can find in villages on the islands if you ask for them, be sure the mini-shop is credible, don;t be cheated.
2.Cherry Tomatoes

All tomatoes have a substance known as lycopene. Lycopene is an antioxidant that fights inflammation in the brain and generally protects the brain. For best results, eat them with olive oil; olive oil helps to increase the absorption of lycopene.

2. Perfect! 

Tomato exists in almost all meals you will be served in Greece, especially in tavernas. Greek Salad, -the famous and pop in NY- WITH FETA CHEESE AS WELL-


the famous Santorini cherry tomatoes, by unforgettable taste and flavor


It may have been the abundance of iron in this leafy green that made Popeye strong, but it was most likely the folate that kept him happy.

Several clinical studies have linked depression to folate deficiency, as low levels of this essential B vitamin appear to reduce the amount of mood-regulating serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline produced in the brain.


  • Half a cup (125 mL) of frozen, boiled spinach contains 25 percent of the daily recommended level of folate;
  • while one cup (250 mL) of fresh, uncooked spinach contains 15 percent.

SERVE IT: Replace lettuce with iron- and folate-rich spinach in any salad, sandwich, or wrap. It also makes a great addition to pasta dishes.

.In Greece you can
find spinach easy at restaurants, and also on supermarkets. Very popular , found everywhere, almost in every bakery shop of the country is the SPANAKOPITA, the spinach pie, which  is also very affordable. A great snack, and light lunch also .

4. Try also, while in Greece fresh orange juice by an chance to maximize the folate intake. It;s cheap and you can find it everywhere

4. Yoghourt

For women experiencing PMS-associated moodiness, a cup of yogourt may be just the pick-me-up they need.

A small study found that women suffering from PMS were less irritable, weepy, and depressed when they ate a daily diet consisting of 1,300 mg of calcium versus 600 mg.

HOW MUCH: Containing 415 mg of calcium per cup (250 mL), plain, low-fat yogourt provides 42 percent of the daily recommended value of calcium.

SERVE IT: For a mood-elevating treat, top a 1/2 cup (125 mL) of plain, low-fat yogourt with crushed walnuts and antioxidant-rich blueberries.

...Greek Yogurt

Calcium – which Greek yogurt has large amounts of calcium (more than milk) – helps a person’s brain by causing it to release happiness-inducing neurotransmitters. Greek yogurt also has more protein than regular yogurt, which makes weight-loss easier.


In regards to health, honey is far better than regular sugar. Honey contains kaempferol and quercetin, which helps to prevent depression (and keep your brain healthy) by reducing inflammation in the brain. It also won’t send your body into “fat-storage” mode, like regular sugar can, by having less of an impact on blood-sugar levels.


This antioxidant-rich nut is an excellent source of serotonin-boosting omega-3 fatty acids and magnesium, a mineral that helps stabilize mood by regulating blood sugar levels.Clinical studies have found that a dietary deficiency of magnesium combined with excess calcium and stress may cause symptoms associated with depression including agitation, anxiety, irritability, and insomnia. Although more research is needed, magnesium may also alleviate mood swings associated with PMS.

HOW MUCH: One 1 oz (30 g) serving of walnuts provides 43 percent of the daily recommended value of magnesium and 95 percent of the daily recommended value of omega-3 fatty acid.

SERVE IT: Eaten alone, walnuts make a great mood- and energy-boosting snack. A handful of walnuts can also be a tasty addition to oatmeal, salads, or stir-fries.

6.. Excellent! 
a. . The Centenarians consume a lot of honey as well as yoghourt from goat, so that;s a longevity combination first of all , and a happy meal also!
b. Greek honey and walnuts on top of yoghourt is a traditional after-meal dessert, served almost all around Greece, on mainland,  mountains or the islands, but in the big cities and the hotels also.

By tradition, this specific combination of walnuts,
honey and yoghourt is believed to promise the best results for men's vigor during the  passionate night that is about to follow.

So why not ? This is Greece...
The gods fell in love here.  Follow  the dos of this land..
Learn more , on our Find that Yoghourt Page

7.: Bananas

Rich in energy-producing potassium, mood-elevating magnesium, and vitamin B6, a banana with breakfast will get your day off to a good start.

Vitamin B6 is essential for the synthesis of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine in the brain and may reduce symptoms of depression.

HOW MUCH: One banana has 34 percent of the daily recommended value of vitamin B6.

SERVE IT: Blend banana with low-fat yogourt, skim milk, and your favourite berries for a mood-boosting smoothie. Cheer up with a childhood favourite: a peanut butter and banana sandwich made with whole wheat bread
While in Greece, you can find plenty of banans, but
you can also replace bananas for Happiness, by the very Greek pistachio which is found plenty in Greece, on the islands, and especially on Aegina island, where every September takes place a feast

Go to our Pistachio Page, you may discover more hot benefits of their consumption.
Make you sexy at most....

Go for it


Considered by many to be an aphrodisiac, oysters not only create feelings of love in some, but also are exceptionally high in zinc, a trace mineral that calms the body and stabilizes mood.

When under stress, zinc reserves in the body can become depleted. Lower levels of zinc can lead to mood swings and agitation. Increasing dietary zinc levels may help ease anxiety and may have an antidepressant effect.

HOW MUCH: Oysters contain more zinc per serving than any other food. Six medium oysters provide over 500 percent of the daily recommended value.

SERVE IT: Eat them on their own or alongside folate-rich vegetables such as asparagus and broccoli, carb-heavy crusty whole wheat bread, or clam chowder.

(See alive’s love-inspired meal for two for deliciously simple ways to serve oysters.)

If you find yourself on clean Aegean or Ionian waters, and swimming next to rocks, and you find these small oysters hang like cup on the sea rocks, you may unstuck these little oysters ,called petalides and eat them. Straight from the sea, these tiny creatures, as well as lots of kinds of fruits de maire are found  wherever sea, in Greece , exists.

So find these aphrodisiacs, and taste them fresh, by the sea salt..


This heart-healthy fish is packed full of omega-3 fatty acid and vitamin D, two nutrients that have been shown to increase levels of the feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain.

A clinical study found that over the course of five years, individuals suffering from depression significantly reduced their feelings of sadness and hostility by eating a healthy diet that included fatty fish two to three times per week.

Salmon is also one of the few dietary sources of

vitamin D. Studies have linked low levels of this sunshine vitamin to depression and seasonal affective disorder.

HOW MUCH: One 3.5 oz (100 g) serving of wild salmon contains approximately 360 IU of vitamin D, 90 percent of the recommended daily value, and 87 percent of the daily recommended value of omega-3 fatty acid.

8. the Greek Version:
Best of in Greece, Sardines of Lesvos, form the Coast of Beauty, Coast fo Kalloni

If found fresh on place in July andj August, on Lesvos island , they are eaten sushi style, baked on the sun with salt. Here is a gorgeous video of this special omega-3 dish that will transfer you right on place . Watch that.. By
Greek T

10. Brazil nuts

If you’re stuck in a foul mood, a handful of Brazil nuts may be just the thing needed to cheer you up. Brazil nuts are one of the most concentrated food sources of free radical-fighting selenium, a trace mineral that when deficient can lead to feelings of hostility, irritability, anxiety, and depression.

In one study, participants who ate a diet high in selenium for 15 weeks reported feeling more confident, clear-headed, and elated, while those who ate a diet low in this essential mineral reported feeling worse.

HOW MUCH: Just 1 oz (30 g) of dried, blanched Brazil nuts provide a whopping 780 percent of the daily recommended value of selenium.

SERVE IT: Eat them alone as a snack, add them to trail mix, toss a handful into a salad, or crush them to make a delicious ice cream topping.

Well, here is the Greek version, if you can't find Brazil nut for your selenium dose, in this all= over happy surround .you can replace your choice by adding to your greek menu for some days, the very traditional Greek clamp. Affordable in price, its often served  day fresh, usually fried, but also stuffed of baked, with full the aroma of the Aegean and Ionian waters. Straight from the sea ...

10: Turkey

At the centre of many festive feasts, turkey is not just for the holidays anymore. It’s high in protein, low in fat, and is a good source of selenium, vitamin B6, and tryptophan.

Tryptophan is essential for the production of mood-enhancing niacin and serotonin, and acts as a mild sedative that promotes sleep.

Choose organic turkey whenever possible. The stress-free lifestyle and balanced diet make for a much tastier bird.

HOW MUCH: One 4 oz (115 g) serving of turkey has almost 110 percent of the daily recommended value of this relaxing amino acid.

SERVE IT: Next time you cook chili, replace the ground beef with ground turkey. Add sliced turkey to a green salad for an instant protein boost.

Note: Turkey, the great source of tryptophan, while it has been known to make people sleepy during Thanksgiving, the tryptophan requires calories in order to activate its sedative-like effects.



Asparagus has high levels of folate and tryptophan. Low levels of folate have been linked to depression in half of all cases of depression, according to recent research. Tryptophan is also used by the brain to make serotonin, which is one of the human brain’s main mood-stabilizing neurotransmitters.

.You can ask for biological turkey raised on Greek land in supermarkets , or special tavernas, but also , while in Greece, you can take serious tryptophan amounts of artichokes, especially cooked traditionally in Greece, peas, and carrots and almonds

11. Feta a happy cheese?

Hey!  The Feta cheese, present almost on all dinner, liunch , and breakfast tables, has maximum potential on B-12, calcium, and a pretty good proportion of tryptophan, as well as  magnesium

More about why feta is among the healthiest cheeses, here

12.Cocoa dip with Greek yoghourt,cayenne pepper...
and a little coconut,
 may be?

: Dark chocolate

The ultimate comfort food, dark chocolate contains high levels of the amino acid phenylalanine.

Although more research is needed, some clinical evidence has suggested that phenylalanine may be an effective treatment for depression, as it enhances production of the mood-elevating chemicals dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain.

HOW MUCH: For best effect, choose chocolate that is at least 70 percent cacao. As chocolate is high in calories, remember less really is more when indulging in this sweet treat.

SERVE IT: Make your own mood-boosting trail mix by adding a handful of mini semisweet chocolate chips and calcium-rich slivered almonds to whole grain cereal. Melt a few squares of dark chocolate and dip antioxidant-rich strawberries into it.


Despite the fact that coconuts are most commonly found in unhealthy desserts, coconuts do contain medium-chain triglycerides. Medium-chain triglycerides are special fats that fuel better moods and promote general brain-health. Note: Coconut milk, on the other hand, is actually pretty unhealthy. Stick with unsweetened coconut shavings

By moodhacker, Greek2m

classic Recommendations for Happy food, on the left, by