Mood Foods: Foods That Boost Your Mood

We all feel a little down sometimes. With all the benefits of being happy, though, it’s important that we try to reduce the amount that we feel stressed or depressed (though the occasional down day is totally fine). While on a nice day, you could head outside, that’s not always an option. Sometimes, when you’re feeling down, it’s hard to even leave the house. If this is sounding a bit like you, there is help you can get if you’re feeling this way regularly. If you’re hoping to give your mood a boost or find ways to improve your mood regularly, you can find the solution in your kitchen. While comfort foods may be just that, comforting, there’s a selection of foods that can boost your mood through healthy nutrients found in the food itself! In fact, we found so many, we couldn’t keep this as a single article. In this short series, we’ll identify several readily available, tasty, and scientifically-backed foods that may improve your general outlook on life!

Fatty Fish

Once again, fatty fish makes it on a list of healthy foods to try. Fatty fish intake has been seen to have a positive influence on attitude, leading to a sunnier disposition and lowering risk of depressive symptoms. The primary reason for this improvement is likely the omega-3 fatty acids that are prevalent in fish like salmon. One study gave omega-3 fatty acids to a group of patients with depression who weren’t affected by medications. After three months, two thirds of the group reported significant improvement in symptoms like general sadness, pessimism, and sleeplessness.

After three months, two thirds of the group reported significant improvement in symptoms like general sadness, pessimism, and sleeplessness.

While this shouldn’t replace treatment, it may be effective as a supplementary option for patients with depression. The amount of fish ingested in that study was the equivalent of roughly three salmon meals a week for the duration, which is a really attainable amount when you consider it’s only 36 out of 252 meals over the course of the study. That’s only naming salmon, too. Plenty of other fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, giving you lots of options to choose from.

Eggs

The importance of eggs to our mood specifically comes down to two nutrients: Vitamin D and selenium. Vitamin D may influence the amount of serotonin in our systems. Deficiencies of Vitamin D have also been tied to greater risks of depression and other mental disorders. While we primarily get Vitamin D from sunlight (a potential reason seasonal affective disorder happens when there is naturally less sunlight), egg yolks are an excellent dietary source.

Ensuring you’re getting a healthy amount of selenium in your diet can help improve your mood and decrease anxiety.

Another way eggs give us a mood boost is with their selenium content. Ensuring you’re getting a healthy amount of selenium in your diet can help improve your mood and decrease anxiety. Another study on nursing home residents found that while none of the participants had insufficient levels of selenium prior to the study, an increase in selenium intake was associated with an improvement in mood and a decrease in depressive symptoms. When you consider eggs are often high in omega-3 fatty acids, it’s easy to see how a sunny-side-up egg may give you a sunnier disposition for the day!

Leafy Green Vegetables

There are many reasons we should all be eating more vegetables, especially leafy greens, but when it comes to improving your mood, folate is a primary reason we’re including them on this list. Folate, prevalent in vegetables like spinach and kale, has been found to decrease the risk of depression. A folate deficiency is also linked with poor memory and fatigue.

An insufficient amount of magnesium in the diet has been reliably linked with depression and anxiety.

Beyond folate, leafy greens may also fight inflammation, which recent studies believe may be a major cause of depression. Leafy greens also tend to be high in magnesium. An insufficient amount of magnesium in the diet has been reliably linked with depression and anxiety.

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These are only three common groups of foods that may help make you happier, but there’s a lot you can do with them. Each group is so versatile that you can use them in nearly any meal of the day, giving you lots of opportunities to give yourself a healthy mood boost. That said, these aren’t the only foods we found that are effective. In fact, we found enough to make a full mood-boosting breakfast so that you can start your day out bright!