18 Foods to Boost Your Mood

The ever-so cheesy saying, “you are what you eat,” rings true. Eat a doughnut, you will feel like a doughnut (puffy, heavy, and oily), not quite the best option to boost your mood. Ugh!

It is so easy to grab for that doughnut, when feeling sluggish and down. Sugar does give you a little energy boost and trigger that reward system in your brain telling you, “You should do that again!” So, you do. It’s addicting to feel happy. Don’t feel bad, it happens to all of us.

Watch: How Sugar Affects the Brain and Why We Keep Reaching for It

But, before you reach, please remember the gross feeling you have after the sugar crash. It can cause you to feel even worse than before you reached for the doughnut (all gassy and uncomfortable, getting you in a foul mood). Then you become this big ole grump no one wants to be around.

We want to prevent that right? We want to go around happy as a clam all day with no sugar crashes or bad moods. Am I for real right now? Is this a thing? Oh yes, ma’am! It totally is! There are foods out there that can boost your mood and make you feel like that happy clam dancing around at the bottom of the ocean.

18 Foods to Boost Your Mood:

Coffee

Health.com shares, “If you feel that your morning coffee soothes your soul, it’s not your imagination: A large 2011 study from the Harvard School of Public Health found that women who drank at least two cups of coffee regularly had a 15 percent lower risk of depression than those who didn’t drink any coffee—and their risk decreased by 20 percent when they downed four or more cups of joe a day. One possible reason: Caffeine triggers the release of the brain chemical dopamine—important for sharpening focus and improving your outlook.” But, if it starts giving you the jitters or starts messing with your sleep cut back on the joe.

Please note: everybody metabolizes caffeine differently (either fast or slow). If you metabolize it quickly, you get the health benefits of coffee. If you metabolize it slowly, you don’t. So, please be aware of what it is doing to your body. Listen to your body when it is telling you to stop. And remember: moderation is key. Too much of a good thing, can be bad.

Read more: Coffee: Your Poison or Your Medicine

Good Fats/Omega-3

Yes, good fats exist and are beneficial to your brain health. Eating good fats (such as wild-caught salmon, avocado, almonds, grass-fed chicken/beef, coconut/coconut oil and eggs) can provide you the omega-3’s (DHA and EPA) your brain needs to help you feel great. Here is why: Dr. Mercola states “Omega-3 has such great impact on your brain health – EPA and DHA keep the dopamine levels in your brain high, increase neuronal growth in the frontal cortex of your brain, and increase cerebral circulation.” Remember in the video it talked about when your dopamine levels increase, you feel awesome?

Read more: Your Practical Guide to Omega-3 Benefits and Supplementation

Vitamin B Folate

Dark leafy greens are packed with this stuff! That’s why mom always said, “Eat your greens!” We are not all salad lovers (I get that). So, go the smoothie route. Pack a cup of spinach in your morning or afternoon smoothie. And for a non-leafy snack, eat Garbanzo beans (hummus is made of this), avocado, beets, chia seeds, and orange juice. They have Vitamin B to give you that little boost of energy and mood you need. Go for a double-win and add those garbanzo beans to your spinach salad. Heck, go for an uber-win! Have a salmon, spinach, garbanzo bean, avocado salad topped with almond vinaigrette dressing. That sounds tasty (you’ll get your good fats and vitamin B folate)!

You are what you eat, so eat these foods to boost your mood, brain power, and happiness!

Here is why folate is so awesome for youUniversity of Maryland Medical Center says, “Vitamin B9, also called folate or folic acid, is one of 8 B vitamins. All B vitamins help the body convert food (carbohydrates) into fuel (glucose), which is used to produce energy. These B vitamins, often referred to as B-complex vitamins, also help the body use fats and protein. B-complex vitamins are needed for a healthy liver, and healthy skin, hair, and eyes. They also help the nervous system function properly.Folic acid is crucial for proper brain function and plays an important role in mental and emotional health.”

Please note: folate is water-soluble (meaning your body doesn’t store it). So, have some high folate snacks (like kale chips and hummus) around to keep your vitamin B levels where they need to be.

Carbs

“Despite persistent myths to the contrary, carbs don’t make you fat and they can boost your mood. In a new study in the Archives of Internal Medicine, people who for a year followed a very-low-carbohydrate diet—which allowed only 20 to 40 grams of carbs daily, about the amount in just 1/2 cup of rice plus one piece of bread—experienced more depression, anxiety and anger than those assigned to a low-fat, high-carb diet that focused on low-fat dairy, whole grains, fruit and beans. Researchers suspect that carbs promote the production of serotonin, a feel-good brain chemical. Also, the challenge of following such a restrictive low-carb diet for a full year may have negatively impacted mood,” says Eating Well in 7 Foods to Boost Your Mood Naturally.

But again, everything in moderation. You need the benefits of all the vitamins and food groups. So don’t eat carbs all day (you need those B vitamins to convert the carbs into fuel). If you feel a slump at 3pm reach for a Greek yogurt parfait with granola, and mixed berries, not a butter croissant.

And, the next time you go grocery shopping add some of these foods to your list to. Prep some snack and meals to take with you to work; so, you can snack and eat on these throughout the day to prevent a bad mood.

***Note: Ludavia is not an expert in nutrition. Posts written are strictly research findings collected over time. It is recommended you research these findings yourself and consult with your physician or physical trainer if these recommendations are good for you.

  • These are great and I totally agree with all of them! Thank you for mentioning coffee too. It often gets such a bad reputation, but it’s definitely a mood booster for me!

    • I’ll always be here to stand up and defend coffee!! 😂