Good mood food

Lina Bou, a nutritional therapist and author of a new book of vegetarian recipes, explains her philosophy of healthy eating to improve your mood and shares a summer salad recipe.

Having healthy food habits definitely improves your mood, and it is no coincidence my book is called Good Food Good Mood.

Our stomach is our second brain and it has its own nervous system, called the enteric nervous system. Ninety-five per cent of the body's serotonin ("happy hormone") is found in the bowels and that's why what you put in your belly has a real impact on your mood.

For me, cooking is my art. It’s one method of expressing myself but also a very important way to take a moment to nourish my body and give pleasure to my taste buds.

My philosophy for cooking is very simple. I like to remember that we humans are a part of nature. We need to educate ourselves about the natural world we live in to understand our own bodies. There is a reason why certain plants grow during spring: the more we follow the rhythm of nature the more we will understand the beauty of its instinct. 

Eating local, fresh and organic food gives you the ultimate nutrition quality. To enjoy, be creative and to eat with pleasure causes the ultimate quality of digestion. 

Lina’s recipe:

Marinated cauliflower and broccoli with figs and fresh herbs

4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

zest and juice of 1-2 lemons

1 tsp tahini

½ tsp ground cumin

1cm (½”) piece fresh root ginger, grated

1 cauliflower, trimmed and cut into florets

1 head of broccoli, trimmed and cut into florets

20g (2/3oz) pumpkin seeds

1 bunch fresh parsley

2 sticks of celery, cut into small pieces

3 fresh figs (if in season, otherwise use dried) cut into small pieces

salt and freshly ground black pepper

Serves 2-4 (depending on the size of the cauliflower and whether the dish is served as a side or a main)


Put the olive oil, lemon zest and juice, tahini, cumin and ginger in a bowl, and mix well with a spoon. Add the cauliflower and broccoli, then mix with your hands to make sure all the florets are coated with the dressing. Leave to marinate in a bowl or bag, preferably for a few hours.

Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F/Gas 2.

Spread out the pumpkin seeds on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 10 minutes. Leave to cool.

Add the pumpkin seeds, parsley, celery and figs to the salad, season to taste and serve.

Recipe taken from

The Good Food Good Mood Cookbook: Easy and healthy vegetarian recipes for the modern lifestyle by Lina Bou
(Eddison Books)

ISBN 9781859064108
RRP £13.99


Lina blogs at