Foods prepared with lentils, beans and chickpeas, such as lentil soup, are high in serotonin-producing tryptophan. Yams, sweet potatoes and squash are also healthy carbohydrates that can boost serotonin levels and promote sleep.

1 L vegetable or chicken broth
1 cup split red lentils, well rinsed and soaked for a couple of hours
1 largish sweet potato (about 500-600g), diced into medium sized cubes
1 can coconut milk
Coconut oil for frying
1 large brown onion, diced
4-5 cloves garlic, chopped finely
A large chunk of ginger, chopped finely
1 tablespoon red curry paste (more if you like it spicy)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Fresh coriander to garnish

Serves: 6


1. Fry the onion in a large, heavy-bottom pot until it turns sweet and translucent.

2. Add the garlic and ginger, then fry for a moment longer. If you’re a huge coriander fan, you can chop up the fresh roots and add them in.

3. Add the lentils, then stir for another minute or so.

4. Add stock and let simmer on a medium heat with the lid on for about 10-15 minutes – until the lentils are nearly cooked. Add extra water or stock as needed.

5. Add the sweet potato, stock, salt, pepper and coconut cream. Let it cook until the sweet potato is nicely soft.

6. Mash the chunks of sweet potato for chunky home-style texture or blend the whole thing in a food processor for a smoother consistency.

7. Serve in bowls with coriander for garnish.