When my talented friend, Shannon, and I were making this Mood Boosting Foods Visual Guide, we kept joking that all the mood boosters are sexy foods. And it’s pretty accurate. I mean look at all those gorgeous, rich, colorful foods. I feel happier just looking at them. It’s so important that we focus energy on boosting our mood all year round, but especially in the darker, greyer winter months. Extra especially here in the Pacific Northwest. Some other things I find especially helpful for coping during the winter: yoga, meditation, breath work, exercise (in all forms), sex, a getaway (even if it’s somewhere close by that gets more sun), weekly dinners with friends and writing down what I’m grateful for everyday. What works for you? What do you find helps boost your mood when you feel like you’re dragging? Try incorporating more of these mood-boosting foods into your daily diet throughout the entire year.
Wild-caught salmon is one of the best foods you can eat for healthy brain function and increased mood. One serving contains double your recommended value of vitamin B12, which is essential to maintaining a balanced mood and fighting off feelings of depression.
Avocados help balance your hormones by ensuring your brain is producing the right chemicals to make you feel your best. Avocados are also one of the best sources of healthy fats out there, which are essential to making you feel happy.
Grapes are packed with antioxidants including flavonoids, which affect your mood.
Shiitake mushrooms are an excellent source of vitamin B6, which is particularly good for improving feelings of well being.
Walnuts are full of serotonin, the brains feel-good chemical. They’re also packed with antioxidants and healthy fats.
Sesame seeds contain the amino acid tyrosine, which boosts the brain’s dopamine levels.
Strawberries offer doses of vitamin A and C, as well as manganese, helping your body fight against the build up of free radicals and recover more quickly from stress.
Asparagus is an excellent source of tryptophan, which is essential in the production of neurotransmitters like serotonin. It also contains high levels of folate, vitamin B6 and potassium.
Swiss chard + collard greens are both particularly high in mood- and energy-boosting magnesium.
Blue/purple potatoes contain the antioxidants, anthocyanins, which provide many protective benefits to the brain like reducing inflammation.
Dark chocolate contains the powerful antioxidants, flavonoids. Eating dark chocolate (go for the highest percentage available) regularly can reduce levels of stress-causing hormone cortisol in the body. Raw cacao is an even better option.
Greek yogurt contains double the amount of calcium than regular milk or yogurt. Calcium deficiency has been linked to anxiety, depression, irritability and delayed thinking.
Raw honey is packed with beneficial compounds like quercetin and kaempferol, which diminish free radicals and reduce inflammation.
Pastured eggs are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, zinc and B vitamins, which are all important to boosting energy and mood. It’s worth the extra few dollars to make sure your eggs are coming from pasture raised chickens.