5 Power Foods to Boost Your Mood

Food with Vitamin D

Getting your daily dose of vitamin D is important for your attitude. Low vitamin D levels are linked to depression and other mood disorders. You can get this from getting direct exposure to the sun for 5-20 minutes daily.
For dietary sources of Vitamin D: Almond milk, oatmeal, fortified tofu, orange juice, wild salmon, canned fish.


In addition to being a significant source of vitamins K, A and C (the greener, the better), spinach is an excellent source of folic acid (also called folate). This is a B vitamin sometimes used to treat depression. It causes a “feel-good” chemical called serotonin to be released.
Alternatives: You can also get folate from beans, lentils and broccoli. 


The only fruit on this list, bananas contain an amino acid called tryptophan. Your body uses tryptophan to produce 5-HTP, the compound that makes serotonin and melatonin, two mood and sleep-regulating neurotransmitters. Bananas also contain magnesium, which further increases sleepiness, making them a great bedtime or midnight snack. 


Researchers at the MIT Clinical Research Center have found that when you stop eating carbohydrates, your brain stops regulating serotonin, the chemical that improves your mood and suppresses your appetite. However, highly processed carbohydrates (i.e. white bread) cause rapid changes in your blood sugar levels and can result in mood swings. High fiber carbs like oatmeal stabilize blood sugar, and take a while to move through your system, making you feel full longer.
Alternatives: Carbs in general make people feel good. Stick with whole grains for maximum health benefits. 


Like spinach, eating chocolate releases serotonin. However, chocolate has an additional benefit. It promotes relaxation through the release of endorphins. Endorphins are “feel good” chemicals also produced after hard, aerobic exercise. Chocolate may improve blood flow to the heart and brain, thus improving concentration, due to the antioxidants it contains.
Tip: Some researchers say the best way to have a piece of chocolate is to enjoy the experience. Slowly crinkle the wrapper open and eat it slowly, savoring the flavor and subsequent mood boost.