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London Airport Serves ‘Happy Meals’ With Mood-Enhancing Ingredients

These meals are scientifically designed to boost your mood.

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Brenna Houck is a Cities Manager for the Eater network. She previously edited Eater Detroit and reported for Eater. You can follow her on the internet at @brennahouck.

Airports are often the stage for an emotional rollercoaster. The flight delays, cramped seating quarters, and often flavorless food can make flying a trying experience. However, London's Gatwick Airport is trying to change that starting with travelers' diets. The Telegraph reports that Gatwick has introduced "happy meals" at eight locations in its north and south terminals that feature hormone-boosting ingredients.

Flying is such a stressful experience that passengers may benefit from antidepressants

Nutritionist Jo Traverse helped the airport develop its menu. She explains: "There are certain foods that will help the 'happy' chemicals in your brain to keep flowing. Two key players are the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, along with amino acids tryptophan and theanine, which can contribute to the creation of serotonin, known to most as 'happy hormones'." Adding, "Low levels of these chemicals can cause fatigue in addition to lowering existing levels of serotonin. Similarly, a deficiency of Omega 3, can lead to fatigue and mood swings." Flying is such a stressful experience that passengers may benefit from antidepressants.

Menu items — labeled with a smiley face emoji — range from salmon citrus salad (said to improve brain function) to falafel and fattoush salad (for keeping blood sugar levels steady) to albacore tuna and truffle ponzu. Raymond Kallau, founder of the website Airline Trends, tells CNN he sees the new menu items as "an indication [of] how the overall quality of food and beverages offered at airports has improved over the past years."

While travelers are eating mood-boosting food on the ground, researchers are exploring new ways to improve food in-flight like employing 3D printing technology to make fresher meals. Of course, a little chef input couldn't hurt either.