The Marion Gluck Clinic


Mood Lift Breakfast

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) includes low energy and sadness often a result of a reduction in the hours of daylight. Experts speculate that these changes may impact our circadian rhythm and may also influence hormone levels including serotonin and melatonin. Our ‘happy’ hormone, serotonin, is known to improve sadness and reduce anxiety. The food we eat, with an emphasis on l-tryptophan foods, can help increase serotonin levels.

Some foods containing tryptophan:

Oats – Complex carbohydrates that contain soluble fibre and can slow the absorption of sugar into our bloodstream and increase serotonin

Cacao – Can help stimulate the brain into releasing neurotransmitters, which can in turn release feel-good hormones, including phenylethylamine (PEA), a compound more commonly known as the ‘love drug’ thanks to the feeling of calm it invokes. PEA can also help to enhance mental focus and concentration, counter depression and anxiety and improve our moods in general. On top of its PEA levels, cacao is packed with l-tryptophan. Do not get mixed up with cacao and cocoa! Cocoa is cacao (usually in powder form) that is roasted at high temperature and this reduces the enzyme content which lowers the overall nutritional value

Brazil nuts – Loaded with selenium. Research has shown a connection between low selenium levels and depression, making brazil nuts a perfect snack for SAD sufferers

Banana – The humble fruit has a lot of weapons in its arsenal when it comes to battling SAD as it is loaded with l-tryptophan and B6 (B vitamins support the breakdown of stress hormones and the build-up of serotonin). As stress will deplete the body’s potassium reserves, the potassium found in a banana can provide a boost that can actually lower stress.

gut balancing foods - healthy gut - nutrition - gut microbiota - gut flora

Milk and yogurt – Milk is loaded with SAD-busting vitamin D and yogurt is high in protein and calcium, which can also ease anxiety and mood swings


Mood Lift Breakfast

Recipe by: Tiina Lemmik
Prep time: 10 mins
Serves:  1
Download PDF



50 g porridge oats
350 ml milk or water (or mixture of the two)
pinch of salt



1 heaped tablespoon Greek yogurt
1 small banana
1 tablespoon raw cacao nibs
2-3 chopped brazil nuts


Put oats in a small saucepan, pour in milk or water and sprinkle in a pinch of salt. Bring to the simmer for 8-10 minutes, stirring from time to time so it does not stick to the bottom of the saucepan.

To serve, pour into a bowl, spoon yogurt on top, add sliced banana and sprinkle with cacao nibs and chopped nuts.

Optional: drizzle with honey or maple syrup




Once you're ready to start your journey to better health and balance, you can book your first appointment online in a matter of minutes.

Make an appointment


If you have seen a Marion Gluck Clinic Doctor in the last 12 months and are happy on your current treatment plan, you can use this quick and easy service to get a prescription refill.

Order prescription


Sign up to the Marion Gluck Clinic newsletter, our monthly round-ups of latest news as well as helpful articles on nutrition, hormones and much more.

Sign up
Call Now Button