How to Boost Your Mood with Food

   By rlerner  Mar 02, 2010

It’s a fact: what we eat can have a direct effect on our mood.  Have you ever noticed that after eating a big meal you are ready for a nap?  Or after eating a high sugar candy your energy drops drastically after about an hour? When our energy levels swing drastically, so, too can our moods.


Here is a guide to the best good-mood foods.


Vitamin D

A lot of people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD because of the lack of sunlight during the winter months.  There are foods we can add to our diet to counteract the effects. Besides natural sunlight, which is difficult to enjoy in the winter if you live in the northeast, beef liver, milk, egg yolks and fatty fish such as wild salmon and sardines all contain vitamin D. You can also research supplementing your diet with a daily intake of at least 1000mg of vitamin D.


B Vitamins

Another way to boost your mood through a healthy diet is by eating foods rich in vitamin B12 and folic acid.  Vitamin B12 and folic acid can be found in beans greens, meats, fish, poultry and dairy. 



A mineral called selenium acts like an antioxidant in the body. Foods rich in selenium include: whole grains such as oatmeal or brown rice, beans, legumes, lean meat, dairy foods, nuts and seeds and seafood. 



Fish contain omega-3s, which have been shown to have positive effects on mood swings and depression.  Recent studies even show that people who consume fatty fish such as salmon or sardines have lower symptoms of depression.  Some other sources of omega-3s are ground flaxseed, avocado, nuts and seeds, hemp seeds and olive oil.



Most people love chocolate and believe it or not in small amounts dark chocolate, with at least 70% cocoa, can have an effect on our endorphins or feel-good chemicals.


Mood Crushers

Just as the foods I mentioned can make you feel better, there are foods we consume which can make us feel worse.  The biggest “mood crushers” are foods which are high in saturated fat or sugar, alcohol (although we think of it as a feel-good drink it is actually a depressant) and caffeine.  While we associate caffeine with jolts of energy it actually can increase irritability or give us a sudden burst of energy that ends with fatigue.  Consuming alcohol or caffeine can also affect our sleep.  When sleep is disturbed or inefficient we tend to be more irritable.    

Bottom line: when we eat a healthy diet balanced with foods that are high in antioxidants, fiber, unsaturated fat and lean protein we are providing our bodies with numerous benefits, boosting our mood is just one of them. And of course, incorporating exercise and stress management into your daily routine can also help increase your mood.

Do you notice how certain foods affect your mood?


Make a Comment

Ujjwala by Ujjwala | YORBA LINDA, CA
Sep 10, 2010

Thank you for really nice suggestions to boost your mood and feel happy!

joy9281 by joy9281 | TOLEDO, OH
Apr 04, 2010

Thank you for this posting it is very usefull.

prissysue by prissysue | bryant, AR
Apr 01, 2010

Great and usefuel information.

darnold14 by darnold14 | Quinlan, TX
Mar 12, 2010

I try to eat fresh veggies and fruits when I can or fresh frozen. I buy at local farmers markets. We have also really tried to stay away from fats such as fast food. I am not a fan after seeing how much goes into that cheeseburger. I have heard that sugar is bad for depression my sister suffers with it. Since she does not eat it much any more she has seen an improvement.

tweetybird1961 by tweetybird1961 | Chelsea, MI
Mar 08, 2010

Eisheth, please look into taking Extra Vitamin D supplements, they have helped me tremendously. (see Dr. Oz website for tips) My mood is just much brighter. Watch those fruit smoothies, they can be loaded with a lot of calories and hidden sugars and lead to a drop in your blood sugars and cause you to feel sleepy in an hour. Best bet is to make them yourself with frozen fruit and yogurt and a little Splenda or Agave Nectar. Very healthful!

eisheth by eisheth | yuba city, CA
Mar 02, 2010

I drink a lot of coffee and i have noticed that if i have a bunch of caffeine on an empty stomach, i get light headed, shaky, dizzy, nauseated, and i just want to lie down. I have also noticed that if i am feeling kind of crappy, once in a while if i eat some kind of fruit or fruit smoothie it will pick me up. but i never really thought about the foods i eat have actually been having an affect on my mood. i am currently working to get through some depression, so i am going to start paying closer attention to the things i eat and hopefully this will help me beat my depression sooner. so far it has been a long slow battle. so if this really works, even just a little that would be awesome.

pjclayton57 by pjclayton57 | Oceanport, NJ
Mar 02, 2010

I think that anytime that you eat healthy, it has a positive impact on you in all aspects. If you know that you are eating healthy you will feel better about yourself and it will manifest from the inside out! If you are eating non-healthy foods, you will feel guilty and feel bad about it and it will drag you down! And of course, exercise is always a mood booster; even for those who have a hard time getting up and out - a little exercise can go a long way towards a positive mental and physical outlook!