Good mood foods can help you deal with stressors like work, kids, meal planning and everyday anxiety. While a good meal shared with loved ones, or even your favorite comfort foods can bring short-term happiness and making memories around meal-time also brings a sense of joy, there are specific foods that have been clinically shown to improve your mood. Here are the top ten foods you can add to your day for a better mood.
1. Swiss Chard – Loaded with the essential nutrient Magnesium, this leafy green supports the functioning of biochemical reactions in your brain (the ones that increase energy levels). In a 2009 study, researchers found that a higher intake of magnesium was associated with lower depression scores. (1) You can also try other leafy green vegetables like spinach, or soybeans for a dose of magnesium.
2. Salmon – Your brain functions optimally when it has the right nutrients including omega-3 fatty acids, one of the most important nutrients for a good mood. Since the brain is made up of about 60% fats, it needs omega-3’s to fight off depression, stress and other mood problems. Make this incredible recipe for Honey-Dijon Glazed Salmon.
3. Amaranth – One of the popular “ancient grains” this delicious supergrain is packed with nutrients including immune boosting antioxidants, minerals, fiber and iron. That may be why it was used as a food for warriors by the ancient Aztec, and Incan cultures.(2)
4. Carbohydrates – High-protein diets may temporarily help you shed pounds but they don’t do too much to help your mood. Researchers at Arizona State University found that after just two weeks, low-carb dieters experienced increased fatigue and a reduced desire to exercise.(3)
5. Dark Chocolate – This sweet treat not only tastes delicious, it also makes you feel happier. The compounds found in cocoa provide an instant mood boost and also improve concentration, blood flow to the brain and can help improve energy levels. But don’t just grab any old candy bar and tell yourself you just need a pick-me-up. It’s the cocoa that does the trick and studies have shown that just a few ounces of dark chocolate will do the job. This Slow Cooker Fudge made with dark chocolate is perfect to serve at a party or event.
6. Greek Yogurt – This naturally low-fat, creamy snack contains high amount of calcium (more than milk or regular yogurt). Calcium triggers your brains release of neurotransmitters that aid in the regulation of mood, and inadequate calcium intake has been liked to anxiety, depression, irritability, impaired memory, and slow thinking. Try this thick and satisfying yogurt out for a better mood, and a high protein snack that can help you stay slim. With no fat or cholesterol, there’s no reason not to serve up this Curry Greek-Style Yogurt Dip.
7. Asparagus – This vegetable is one of the best plant-based sources of an amino acid called tryptophan. Tryptophan aids in the production of the brains primary neurotransmitters involved in regulating your mood, called serotonin. Asparagus also contains high amounts of a B vitamin called folate, which has been shown in studies to help fight depression. Researchers found that up to 50 percent of people that suffer with depression had low folate levels. Other foods that contain tryptophan include: turkey, tuna and eggs. (4)
8. Honey – Sweet, sweet honey, is there anything it can’t do? Not only does honey sweeten your favorite foods, boost your immune system and provide healthy nutrients, it also helps keep your brain healthy. Unlike regular sugars, honey contains beneficial compounds including quercetin and kaempferol, which help reduce inflammation to ward off depression. Since honey doesn’t raise your blood sugar levels as much as regular sugar, it also won’t send your body into a “fat-storage” mode leaving you craving sugary foods. That’s something to bee happy about! Learn more about The Benefits of Healthy Honey
9. Cherry Tomatoes – These tomatoes are a sweet variety and are eaten easily by the handful for a mid-day snack. They also go great in salads, or your favorite soups and in wraps. Not only that, they are also a great source of lycopene (an antioxidant that helps protect your brain) which helps reduce inflammation that causes depression. Because lycopene is contained in the skin of tomatoes, you’ll get more of this important mood boosting nutrient by eating small cherry tomatoes, instead of cutting large slices of other varieties.
10. Coconut – Coconuts provide so many benefits, and due to their content of medium-chain triglycerides or MCTs (healthy fats that keep your brain healthy) you might also notice a better mood by making your meals a little more tropical. Unsweetened coconut shavings go great in yogurt, or on top of steel-cut oats, in a smoothie or just out of the bag. MCTs have also been shown to help increase the rate of fat burning in the body for weight loss. That’s just one more reason to add coconuts to your menu. Lose Weight with Coconut Oil
Add these foods to your meals, we’ll help! Skinny Ms. helps make healthy living easier with menu planning, right here.
- “The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry”; Association Between Magnesium Intake and Depression and Anxiety in Community Dwelling Adults; Jacka N.F., et al.; January 2009