Beat a bad mood with food and you’ll be helping to feel as good as you can while supplying the body with what it needs to function properly. These healthier options work better than popular comfort foods, and won’t leave you regretting your decision later.
1. Dark Chocolate for Stress
Good news for chocolate lovers, you can actually indulge that chocolate craving while at the same time help to stress out less.
That’s because chocolate produces endorphins in the brain that help us feel good, and particularly goes to work on the stress hormone cortisol, slowing its production and helping to defeat the feeling of stress it creates. Of course you don’t want to go too far with your dark chocolate intake, or you could end up undoing the benefits and spike your blood sugar levels.
What about milk chocolate? You’ll want to stick with dark chocolate to get the mood-bumping effects, as it contains antioxidants not found in milk chocolate, and should be dairy free if it’s pure enough.
Make It Even Better
Use dark chocolate to cover strawberries, cherries, or other mood-boosting berries found below. By combining mood-elevating foods you are amplifying their positive effect.
2. Coconut for a Better Mood
Sprinkling coconut flakes into a recipe is one way to get to a better mood, and it’s also a tasty one. Coconut contains plenty of nutrients that can help you feel better and push away depressed feelings.
Potassium is an essential mineral for feeling good, but coconuts also contain protein and fiber, a combination that helps you feel full and keeps you regular so you’re always feeling good.
If you’re looking to lose weight you’ll want to go with unsweetened coconut flakes. It actually makes sense to buy them unsweetened and then add in your own form of sweetener rather than rely on whatever sugar they decide to use on sweetened coconut flakes.
Coconut In Many Forms
These days you’ll find all sorts of coconut products in addition to coconut flakes. There’s coconut oil, coconut milk, coconut water, and even coconut flour.
3. Kale for a Brighter Outlook
There’s no use in being a pessimist, so if you’ve found yourself thinking that things won’t get better, try munching on some kale and your mindset just might shift.
The antioxidants and carotenoids in kale are what is credited with the ability to see things through rosier glasses. That’s because it’s been found that those that are most optimistic in life have high levels of these substances in their blood. It’s a way of reverse-engineering a better perspective on life.
Kale isn’t the only veggie that can get you there, look for vegetables that have a deep green color, and chances are they’ll have the phytonutrients needed to bolster your day.
Crunchy Mood Enhancer
Baking up a batch of kale chips is a sure way to make yourself feel better, and avoid the regret that comes from munching on less-than-healthy snack fare.
4. Berries for the Blues
You can’t go wrong with berries if you’re looking to feel good. Raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries contain plenty of antioxidants that will help prevent oxidative stress, leading you to feel better right now.
The folate in these berries is what’s most important to your mental health, and if you’re running low on folate you may find it harder to stay positive and feel upbeat. It’s easy enough to get enough folate if you’re eating a balanced diet filled with plenty of fruits and vegetables.
On a side note you’ll be getting a good amount of fiber and minerals when you consume berries, making them a great fruit to eat if you’re attempting to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.
Best Berry Smoothie
Grab several different types of berries, toss half handfuls of each into the blender along with 1/2 cup of coconut milk and some ice and you’re seconds away from a delicious mood altering beverage.
5. Lentils to Shake Low-Energy Thoughts
Lentils may be small in size but they pack quite a nutritional punch, and you’ll be benefiting yourself in multiple ways when you eat them.
The folate in lentils does the heavy lifting for helping your brain function at its best and feel good. Even running slightly low on folate can lead to imbalances in how you feel so make sure you’re getting enough of it each day. It’s water soluble so your body cannot store it up for long periods of time.
Lentils are an excellent source of fiber, and when you eat them alongside a meaty main dish they’ll help balance out your meal and keep you sustained for hours afterward.
Adding Lentils to Your Menu
Lentils work great at thickening up a soup, and they can also be cooked up as a tasty side dish. They don’t have much flavor to them on their own, so it’s a good idea to season them with herbs and spices that contain additional health benefits.
6. Greek Yogurt for the Happiest You
Greek yogurt can help you top up your calcium levels, which in turn lets your brain right the ship and helps you shake off feelings ranging from depression to irritability. Calcium is essential to your wellbeing and affects how you feel during the day, so it’s important to make up for any shortages and stay at healthy levels.
Greek yogurt is higher in protein than regular yogurt, so it will also help you curb any food cravings and can help you meet your protein requirement for the day more easily.
What if you’re lactose-intolerant or otherwise just trying to avoid dairy? Don’t worry, there are plenty of non-dairy foods high in calcium so be sure you don’t run a shortage on this very important mineral.
As a Replacement
Greek yogurt can stand in for butter, cream cheese and other cheeses, sour cream, and even mayo. You’ll be getting pretty similar amounts of protein and calcium, with less fat and calories.
7. Spinach for Get-Up-And-Go!
Is there anything this superfood can’t do? Spinach can help you break out of that funk and get you moving thanks to the folic acid it contains, as well as phytonutrients that give you fuel to power you forward.
The wide assortment of vitamins and minerals in spinach is what has earned its reputation as one of the healthiest foods you can eat. It’s this nutrient density that makes it such a powerful force toward positive thinking.
Spinach is also one vegetable that has a respectable amount of protein in it. The great thing about many of the foods on this page is that they won’t just boost your mood, they’ll provide you with plenty of nutrients for a healthier you.
Green Smoothie Time
The taste of spinach gets overshadowed in a green smoothie by the fruit you add to it. This is good news for those that don’t care much for the taste of spinach. It also means that even if you like the taste you can take in more spinach in less time by blending it up rather than eating it whole.
8. Salmon to Raise Your Spirits
The omega-3s in salmon get a lot of credit for protecting you from heart disease, but they can also help you feel better by allowing your brain to fire on all cylinders resulting in you feeling the best you can.
Omega 3 is being looked at as a possible cure for clinical depression, which means it should provide support to those that are simply feeling down. Clinical depression is something you should treat with your doctor’s assistance and is beyond the scope of this page.
Salmon is one of the most recommended protein sources to eat on a regular basis. The same omega-3s that help your brain do its thing also help your heart, reduce inflammation, and could even help prevent cancer. That’s something to feel good about!
Making It a Meal
It’s easy enough to assemble a mood-boosting plate for dinner by adding a serving of asparagus or spinach to your salmon fillet. All that’s needed is a carbohydrate to balance it out, and lentils would be an excellent choice, as they made this list due to their folate content.
9. Peanut for Crankiness
Here’s a legume that is often thought of as a nut, but can help you feel better nonetheless. It contains healthy fat that can get your brain going in the right direction, and help you out of a bout of crankiness, especially crankiness caused by hunger.
One great feature of peanuts is the way they taste, and if you love the crunchy, nutty taste it will be easy to seek them out at times when you need a mood adjustment.
Peanuts are also a source of magnesium and fiber, so they can help you feel more full when added to a meal, or they can easily get you to your next meal when used as a snack. Avoid roasted peanuts that will contain added sugar and salt.
Organic Peanut Butter
Organic peanut butter can be one way to feel good quickly, since it’s always ready to eat and doesn’t even need to be eaten with anything else in order to be enjoyed.
10. Beets for a Peaceful Mind
If beets aren’t on your weekly shopping list, it’s time to add them to it. There are just too many positive aspects to beets not to eat them regularly.
The betaine in beets is a recognized mood enhancer, helping you feel relaxed and acting as an all-natural anti-depressant. Pretty impressive for a root vegetable.
Go with fresh beets and roast them until they’re soft and edible, rather than buying pickled beets. The less processing a beet goes through the more of its antioxidants and nutrients will be left intact, and the better it will be for you.
Can’t Beat Betalain
The antioxidant betalain found in beets is not found in too many other places, and it’s a pretty powerful force to be reckoned with. It will go to work on free radicals in the body and mitigate some of the damage they do.
11. Tomatoes to Prevent Depression
If preventing cancer and increasing heart health aren’t enough to make you feel good, the antioxidant in tomatoes can help ward off depression and keep your brain healthy.
Tomatoes are a good food to eat no matter how you’re feeling, since they’re consistently linked to heart health and cancer prevention. You simply can’t miss by adding them to your plate.
Cook your tomatoes to release even more lycopene from them and get even more benefit. While it may not be practical to sit down and eat a tomato when you’re feeling deflated, they can be included in your regular diet to prevent feeling bad in the first place.
Cherry Tomatoes for Lycopene
Because there is higher concentrations of lycopene in the skin of tomatoes, cherry tomatoes work best since you’re getting more of the skin with each one you pop.
12. Swiss Chard for Higher Energy
Swiss chard gets overshadowed by leafy greens like spinach and kale, but it’s an important vegetable that can bump up your energy levels and help you shrug off feelings of lethargy or complacency.
The magnesium in Swiss chard is what’s giving you the energy you’re seeking out. A 100 gram serving provides a full 20% of what you need each day, making it worth picking some up the next time you’re at the grocery store.
You can use Swiss chard much the same way you’d use spinach, adding it to smoothies to make them green, or using it as the base of a salad.
Other Magnesium Boosters
Chard doesn’t have the monopoly on magnesium, and there are plenty of other foods you can eat for magnesium. Some of these include cashews, pumpkin seeds, quinoa, avocado, and sweet potatoes. All of these foods have additional benefits that will help you feel good right now.
13. Eggs to Calm You Down
Eggs are a source of tryptophan, so if you find yourself getting worked up and want to come back down to your normal resting state, try making up a quick batch of eggs.
You can cook up eggs in your favorite style and they’ll help you think clearly, thanks to the protein they provide as well as the lecithin which will keep your brain healthy and active.
Eggs also represent a food source of Vitamin D, so in addition to getting regular sun exposure you can eat eggs to keep your supply of Vitamin D at healthy levels.
Other Sources of Tryptophan
Tryptophan usually gets brought up annually around Thanksgiving because of the tryptophan turkey contains. Spinach and soy protein are also good sources. Seek these out whenever you’re feeling anxious and they should help you feel calm and relaxed.
14. Mussels for a Better Brain
Mussels are lauded for the large amounts of B Vitamins they contain, which are an essential factor of the way you feel throughout the day.
Specifically it’s the B12 that earn mussels the most recognition, as they boast some of the highest levels around for a natural food source.
No matter what diet plan you’re following, mussels can find a place thanks to their high protein count, and low calorie and fat gram numbers.
The Importance of B Vitamins
You don’t want to spend a day without getting enough B Vitamins, all of which are water soluble meaning they don’t stay in your body for long, and need to be replenished consistently. It’s not as if you can eat mussels everyday, so be sure you are eating a varied diet to reliably keep your B Vitamin levels where they need to be.
15. Green Tea to Chill You Out
Green tea helps you out in a variety of ways, and can act as a mood improver when you are feeling anxious or angry.
It’s the theanine in green tea that does the trick of soothing the savage beast. This provides a calming effect, can help your focus, and can even help you feel less anxious about an upcoming event.
The amount of caffeine in green tea is not enough to be concerned over if you’re trying to exclude caffeine from your diet, but you can also go with a decaffeinated green tea if you’d like to limit your caffeine as much as possible.
High Antioxidant Content
Green tea is the way to go if you’re looking for these calming benefits, and although many herbal teas can help you to relax, green tea has more antioxidants than black tea and other tea varieties. This is because it undergoes less processing, keeping these vital nutrients intact.
16. Water to Combat Brain Fog
Being dehydrated is a sure way to limit your ability to think clearly and focus. When you feel brain fog start to set in your first line of defense is to make sure that you are getting enough water.
How much water you need varies by individual, but one quick way to calculate your personal requirement is to take your weight, divide it in half, and drink that number of ounces of water each day. A 160 pound person would need 80 ounces of water, which is more than the 64 ounces recommended by the “8 glasses of water a day” rule.
Being in a dehydrated state is a sure way to sap your energy levels. It also makes you more likely to suffer bouts of constipation, and headaches. The cumulative effect of all the negative byproducts of dehydration makes it a top priority that you should address daily.
Signs of Dehydration
Your urine production is the best sign that you’re properly hydrated or not. The color and quantity are the biggest tip offs, but you’ll also want to have an idea of how often you’re going.
17. Black Beans for Mental Sharpness
You can use black beans to help you stay alert and focused thanks to their mix of protein, fiber, and carbohydrates, all of which help you get what’s needed to maintain a healthy state of mind.
Beans of all types are typically ranked low on the Glycemic Index and will help you stabilize your blood sugar, which in turn helps you mentally focus and have higher amounts of energy during the day.
Fiber to Feel Good
Black beans are an excellent source of fiber, and if you’re looking to prevent bad moods from occurring, consider keeping your digestion in good order so you don’t suffer from constipation, indigestion, and other digestive disorders that can leave you feeling lousy.
18. Soybeans to Just Feel Good
Soybeans may not be the most flavorful food on the planet, but they can play an important part in feeling good, thanks to the serotonin they help your body produce.
Serotonin is sometimes referred to as “the happiness hormone” thanks to its role in making you feel elated and ready for a great day. Your body can make enough of it when you’re feeding it a proper diet with the right balance of vitamins and minerals. That’s where soybeans and foods derived from soybeans can help.
You can get the effect you’re looking for from several different foods that are produced from soybeans, including tofu and tempeh. You can also eat edamame, which are premature soybeans but will still deliver the mood-boosting nutrients.
19. Beef for Anxiety
Feeling anxious is no fun at all, and you can help prevent those feelings by supplying the brain with the nutrients it needs to prevent this from happening. The B Vitamins in beef are one possible explanation as to why it makes a difference in the amount of anxiety experienced.
Beef is also a good source of protein, which will help you avoid getting cranky due to hunger. It leaves you feeling satisfied and gives your muscles what they need after a good workout.
Be sure the beef you choose is grass-fed, not grain fed. There are actually different levels of fatty acids when you compare the two types of beef, with grass-fed containing more of the good stuff that feeds your brain.
Beefy Meal Idea
You’ll always want to eat beef with a side of vegetables or other high-fiber food, since it contains no fiber of it’s own. Asparagus spears go nicely with a lean steak and can also help you feel good, or try a serving of quinoa with it and you’ll be getting a broad range of vitamins and minerals. You may also like our list of these 18 Food Cravings & What Your Body Really Wants.