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11 Foods to Naturally Boost Your Mood and Make You Feel Happier

11 Foods to Naturally Boost Your Mood and Make You Feel Happier

If we’re stressed and not getting enough sleep, it’s easy to feel down, but there’s another big contributor to your mood: what you’re eating. With its refined sugar and trans fats, the Standard American Diet is throwing our bodies off, and if you feel like you’re in a funk, a lot of it can be related back to the food that you’re consuming. “The smallest choices each day can make a real difference in improving mental and emotional well-being, stabilizing your moods, and improving your focus,” says Dr. Drew Ramsey, author of The Happiness Diet.

Looking to boost your mood naturally? Here are 11 foods that help you do just that.

1. Swiss Chard

High in folate, also known as folic acid, swiss chard and other leafy greens are good for your mood. In fact, a study by the University of York and Hull York Medical School found a link between low folate levels and depression.

2. Dark Chocolate

Credit: Boz Bros via flickr

 

If you needed another reason to indulge in dark chocolate, it’s this one: dark chocolate can make you happier. A study in the Journal of Psychopharmacology found that consuming chocolate high in cocoa flavanols increased levels of calmness and contentedness.

3. Eggs

Credit: boughtbooks via flickr

With their essential fatty acids, eggs help your body to naturally produce serotonin. Low serotonin levels are linked to depression, anxiety, insomnia and fatigue.

4. Almonds

Credit: Sean Winters via flickr

Almonds pack a lot of nutrients, including folate and magnesium. Magnesium is essential to brain health, and studies have linked it to a reduction in depression, but is often deficient in modern diets. So eat more of those almonds!

5. Lentils

Credit: William Jones via flickr

 

Lentils are a good source of folate which is essential for your mood, and a cup of cooked lentils provides 90 percent of the recommended daily allowance of folic acid. Lentils also have the amino acid L-tyrosine, which your brain uses to make the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and dopamine, therefore helping your brain to combat depression.

6. Pumpkin Seeds

Credit: Brian Jackson via flickr

 

A zinc deficiency can trigger depressive moods, but fortunately pumpkin seeds are packed with the essential mineral. Pumpkin seeds also contain L-tryptophan, a natural mood booster.

7. Oatmeal

Credit: Maria Pontikis via flickr

 

While some think oatmeal is one of the most boring foods on the planet, it’s good for your mental state. That’s thanks to a lot of things, including high levels of magnesium, which help your brain fight depression and anxiety. Since it’s also a great source of soluble fiber, it helps stabilize blood sugar levels, which helps you avoid mood swings.

8. Honey

Credit: Kelvin Beecroft via flickr


 

The nutrients in honey produce a calming effect, helpful if you’re feeling anxious, which is why many mix it into a cup of tea in the evening. A natural sweetener, it’s also a good natural energy booster, so if you feel like you’re dragging, pop a spoonful in your mouth. Nature’s energy gel.

9. Flaxseed Oil

Credit: Dvortygirl via flickr

Our standard American Diet has left us very omega-3 deficient and that can be bad for your mental state: omega-3 has been shown to be an effective supplement for fighting depression. Flaxseed oil is an easy way to get a mega dose of omega-3 essential fatty acids, helping to improve your mood.

10. Water

Credit: Kimberly Gauthier via flickr

 

A glass of water may be the simplest thing you can ingest, but it’s very helpful. Mild dehydration has been shown to dampen moods, which means if you want to feel mentally stronger, make sure you’re getting enough H2O throughout the day.

11. Asparagus

Credit: ulterior epicure via flickr

 

Feel like you’ve been having a lot of mood swings lately? Get some asparagus on your plate, because it is very high in folic acid — a deficiency that is common in people with depression.

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Top Photo Credit: Liz West

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333 comments

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3:20AM PDT on Jun 17, 2014

Thanks

3:09AM PDT on Jun 17, 2014

I have been depressed for the past few days. I just bought some asparagus, so we'll see if it helps!

12:42PM PDT on Jun 13, 2014

Nice to get confirmation every now and then that you are doing something right. Thank you very much.

12:40PM PDT on May 3, 2014

Folic vitamin is one of the vitamins that help stabilize your brain. Consume especially if you have Alzheimer's or Dementia in your family tree.

11:43AM PDT on Apr 15, 2014

Didn't know that about the pumpkin seeds.

11:43AM PDT on Apr 15, 2014

Hmm so it's a happy meal?

1:19PM PDT on Apr 14, 2014

Stay away from the eggs my friends. The only folks who support eggs for good health are the the members of the National Egg Council. Don and awe can! :-))

5:58AM PDT on Apr 14, 2014

good to know thanks

6:19PM PDT on Apr 12, 2014

Thanks!

8:29AM PDT on Apr 8, 2014

THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

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