The 6 Best Mood-Boosting Foods!

Flourless Chocolate Cherry Quinoa Cake, Courtesy of Andrew Rivett, Creative Commons
Flourless Chocolate Cherry Quinoa Cake, Courtesy of Andrew Rivett, Creative Commons

By Cat Perry


Ever hear of Blue Monday—that cold, dark day in January (1/20) that's purported to be the Most Depressing Day of the Year? Thank goodness that's history! The days are getting longer and hotter, and you're feeling more adventurous, so rest assured, June 20 was the "Happiest Day of the Year," and June 21 officially kicked off summer, so the rest is up to you. But guess what: Research shows that certain foods can help you stay in the happy zone for a lot longer.


Happy Days Are Here—on Your Plate

My Fit Foods dietitian Jenny Smith wants to share the Best 6 Mood-Boosting Foods that you need to add to your diet right now, to help you sustain that happy feeling all year long. Of course, pairing these with exercise (along with sunlight and massage, according to Psychology Today) will only further enhance their effects, since exercise increases endorphins and boosts serotonin uptake, which makes you happier. Get moving, dig in, and feel better!

Quinoa & Chicken Salad, Courtesy of Steven Depolo (, Creative Commons
Quinoa & Chicken Salad, Courtesy of Steven Depolo (, Creative Commons
  • Beans: "Beans are a great source of magnesium, which plays an integral part in the body’s energy production." They also really hit the spot and are easy to whip up for salads, sides, fillings, or the main ingredient.
  • Quinoa: The wellness world has crowned this an It Food for many good reasons. It's a superfood that contains 8 grams of protein in one cup, which helps with satiation/feeling full, plus "adding quinoa to a meal will keep blood sugar levels in a happy place while offering a steady stream of energy."
  • Salmon: The good-for-you fatty acids found in this omega-3-rich fish have been linked to improving irritability and mood, and reducing worrying. Plus Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon is having a record-high banner year this year, so be sure to look out for sockeye as your most sustainable fish choice. "If you have been feeling grumpy lately, go fish!"
  • Walnuts: "One of the richest sources of serotonin, this feel-good food helps to create calm and happiness in the brain."
  • Berries: No mater which berry is your favorite—blueberries, strawberries, cherries, raspberries—all berries will do your body and mood good. Find out what's in season, go organic (since non-organic berries contain higher pesticide levels due to their lack of shell/skin), and go for it. "Whether you go for blue or red, berries contain the necessary nutrients needed to help reduce stress and depression." Add berries to your morning oats or smoothie for a sweet and sunny outlook.
  • Tofu: This one is a bit surprising, but Smith says, "When you’re feeling tense, consider adding tofu to your meal. The properties in tofu help muscles to relax—allowing you to chill out."
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