Feeling Flat? Eat These 9 Mood Boosting Foods

woman eating dark chocolateIf you’ve read anything on this blog, you’ll know how the food you eat affects your health.

Hippocrates had it when he said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

What you put into your mouth sure has the ability to make you feel good, fight illness, and live longer; but it also has the ability to boost your mood.

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Everyone has down days now and then, but did you know there are foods you can eat that can help perk you up? Conversely, there are foods that can make you feel down in the dumps.

Certain foods you eat can affect your body’s ability to produce those neurotransmitters that help lift and stabilize your mood. Serotonin is the main one; it is responsible for your feelings of well-being and overall happiness. Ninety percent of the serotonin in your body is produced in your gut, and you can eat foods that boost the production of serotonin. Dopamine gives you a feel-good reward feeling.

Other foods may help calm you by lowering levels of cortisol. When you have too much cortisol, your body is constantly in a fight-or-flight mode and this can lead to all sorts of problems such as suppressed function of the thyroid, decreased bone density, increased abdominal fat storage, metabolic syndrome, decreased muscle tissue, and higher blood pressure.

Mood Boosting Foods We Like


Bananas are high in Vitamin B6, which helps increase serotonin levels. As if that wasn’t enough, they’re also high in folate (Vitamin B9), which helps with mood regulation.


The smell of coconut can help calm your body after a fight-or-flight response. It works to slow your heart rate and level out blood pressure.

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Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are complex carbohydrates, and contain high levels of fiber (up to twice as much as regular potatoes). This helps to slow down digestion and can help regulate blood sugar. Sweet potatoes are also a great source of potassium, beta-carotene and manganese.

Broccoli and Other Leafy Greens

Most leafy greens like spinach, broccoli, and kale are all high in folate and magnesium. As mentioned, folate helps with mood regulation, while magnesium helps reduce anxiety.


Beans (legumes) are also high in folate; a meal with a folate-rich food and a B12-rich food is a super meal that can help with mood regulation. Think chili with beans and lean ground beef or chicken enchiladas.

Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate can help reduce cortisol; scientists think the antioxidants in the chocolate are responsible. You need around 1.4 ounces of it daily to help lower stress; make sure you account for those extra calories & watch how much caffeine you are consuming!

Fatty Fish

The Omega-3s in fatty fish like salmon, rainbow trout, mussels, and sardines are known to help with the production of dopamine and serotonin.


This super expensive spice works a lot like Prozac and can be taken as a capsule to help boost your mood. It can help reduce mood swings and depression.

Brazil Nuts

Brazil nuts are high in selenium, which is linked to decreased symptoms of depression because it helps reduce oxidative stress in your brain. Other selenium-rich foods are legumes, lean meat, and seafood.

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