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We all strive for happiness and well-being, and sometimes a simple shift in our eating habits can make a big difference. Did you know that certain foods may help boost our mood and uplift our spirits? Here are some of the top mood boosting foods, and the science behind them. 


Several studies have found vitamin D can help combat seasonal affective disorder (SAD). That’s because Vitamin D is involved with the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that gives us a sense of calm and well-being. Your skin can synthesize vitamin D when exposed to sunlight, but during the winter months you’re not likely to catch enough rays. Eating plenty of salmon can help, since it’s one of the best sources of vitamin D out there. Fortified milk and egg yolks are top sources, too. 

Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fatty fish like salmon, trout, and sardines have been linked to a lower risk of depression and may help improve overall brain health in women who consumed fish at least 2x per week. 

salmon casserole - mood boosting foods

Recipe: Herbed Salmon and Orzo Casserole with Feta 

Whole Grain Pasta

When you’re stressed, carbs are typically the first thing you grab. This is because foods high in carbs help increase the feel-good hormone serotonin. Instead of choosing jelly beans or a package of sugary cookies, enjoy a delicious, smartly portioned whole grain pasta dinner to help you unwind during the evening. 

whole grain penne and mood boosting foods

Recipe: Whole Grain Penne with Chicken, Mushrooms and Spinach 

Nuts and Seeds 

Almonds, walnuts, flaxseeds, and chia seeds are rich in nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, and zinc, which play a role in brain function and may help reduce symptoms of depression. 

maple glazed nuts - mood boosting foods

Recipe: Maple Spiced Glazed Nuts 


A study conducted at Tufts University linked low levels of folate to depression, low energy levels and memory loss. Folate, a B-vitamin is naturally found in many foods like spinach, kale, and Swiss chard, as well as lentils, beans, peanuts, garbanzo beans, corn, asparagus, and some fruit like cantaloupe, honeydew and oranges. 

chickpea and spinach salad and mood boosting foods

Recipe: Chickpea and Spinach Salad with Cumin Dressing 

Chamomile Tea

A 2009 study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology found that a component in chamomile tea has a calming effect. So, kick back and relax with a warm cup of tea at the end of the day.

chamomile tea and mood boosting foods


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