The healthiest mood-boosting foods might not always be the first thing on your mind when you find yourself diving into a bowl of ultra-processed foods like greasy chips or crispy fried chicken. These foods may temporarily taste amazing but often leave you feeling less-than-awesome afterward. It’s our biology. Our brains are wired to turn to food to feel better. And the food industry knows how to play us. (At least it tries to by adding some of the worst ingredients into our foods.)
Our bodies actually respond to different types of foods in different ways. And some foods, like those full of “bad” carbohydrates — like white breads and pasta and deep-fried treats — can leave us feeling bloated and down in the dumps. Eating a poor diet is full of cascading effects that damage your mood. And to think that your mood plays no role in your health is a totally myth. A poor mood can actually damage your immune system, slow down weight loss and lead to tension headaches. Ouch.
Luckily, there are others that can actually improve our moods.
Wait, what? It turns out there’s a direct link between what we eat and how we feel. People with depression, for instance, often make food choices that can actually contribute to feeling depression symptoms.
Luckily, it’s not all bad news. In fact, there are foods that can help make you feel awesome. These foods infuse your body with nutrients, allowing the brain to produce neurotransmitters that give you a natural high. That’s why you can actually fight depression with nutrition.
The following seven mood-boosting foods are proven to leave you feeling better. Not only that, but they taste great, too. The next time you’re craving a comfort food, turn to these proven mood-boosters instead of empty calories full of science-lab-created ingredients. Let’s take a closer look at nature’s top mood-boosting foods.
7 Foods that Boost Your Mood
Here are some of my favorite happiness-creating, mood-boosting foods:
Avocado benefits are far-reaching, particularly in the brain department. In fact, you’ll find them on nearly every healthy-eating list I create — and with good reason. This superfood is loaded with benefits ranging from protecting your heart to helping with digestion, but it’s also a great pick for improving your mood. Avocados are natural hormone balancers, ensuring your brain is making the right chemicals needed for keep it feeling great. If I had to recommend just one food to eat to feel happier, this would be it, the mood-boosting avocado. It’s the No. 1 food to eat to feel happier.
Try it: Satisfy your sweet tooth and enjoy all of avocados’ benefits with my Chocolate Avocado Mousse recipe.
Juicy grapes are the ultimate take-along snack, but these powerful little fruits are also handy when you want to feel better. When you look at grapes nutrition, you see they are packed with antioxidants, especially flavonoids, which have been found to affect mood. (3) While you can get some of the antioxidant benefits from red wine, which is made from grapes, alcohol is a known depressant. Keep your spirits up by eating the fruit in its natural state instead.
Try it. This hearty homemade Chicken Salad recipe includes a serving of grapes, but feel free to serve extra on the side.
Probably most commonly known as an aphrodisiac, you don’t need a partner to enjoy oysters’ happiness-boosting benefits. When it comes to this saltwater creature, it’s all about the zinc benefits and anti-inflammatory properties. Zinc is a proven picker-upper, and many of us just aren’t getting enough of the mineral. (4) Oysters are also good sources of selenium, which acts as an antioxidant and protects the body from stress.