7 Foods That Improve Your Mood

Post-holiday slump? Try adding these 7 mood-lifters to your diet.
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Post-holiday slump? Try adding these 7 mood-lifters to your diet.

You’ve probably heard how things like exercising and spending time with good friends can be beneficial to your mood, but what if you don’t always have time or you’re looking for other ways to live happier.

Research has discovered that there are certain foods that can actually raise your serotonin levels and decrease depression when consumed on a regular basis. And because they are foods that you can easily add to your diet and meal plan, you can give your family a boost of happiness too.

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Here are 7 great foods for improving your mood:

1. Popcorn. Popcorn raises your serotonin levels, helping you to relax and improving your mood. Air popped corn is better for you and provides a higher source of mood-boosting serotonin over a bag of processed microwave corn. You can easily enjoy the benefits of air popped corn and the convenience of microwave corn by putting a handful of popcorn kernels in a brown paper bag, folding the top down, and popping on high for 2 ½ minutes.

2. Berries. All kinds of berries are wonderful, but blueberries and blackberries are loaded with a higher level of anthocyanins (known for its brain boosting powers) than other berries. Enjoy them fresh, on top of cereal or yogurt, or add frozen berries to a smoothie. Or enjoy a hot/cold healthy dessert by pouring melted dark chocolate over a plate of frozen berries.

3. Peppers. Red and green bell peppers are very high in Vitamin C, which reduces stress hormones. Hot chilies are rich in Vitamin C too. They are most beneficial to you when you enjoy them raw.

4. Coffee and Green Tea. Caffeine decreases the risk of depression in women so enjoy a cup of your favorite coffee blend in the morning to get your day off to a great start. Feeling stressed or unfocused during the day? Fix yourself a cup of green tea. It has Theatine, which reduces stress and helps you get your focus back.

5. Shellfish. When we are low on Vitamin B-12, we tend to become lethargic and feel less motivated to get moving. Shellfish is the one of the best sources of B-12 so it will naturally boost your energy and get you moving.

6. Leafy Greens. A serving or two of spinach, romaine or kale every day will keep the blues away. They are high in folic acid, which is shown to reduce depression. For an added benefit, make a salad and add some peppers!

7. Dark Chocolate. Dark Chocolate will reduce stress hormones by releasing serotonin, perfect if you need to find calm in your day. For it to be the most beneficial, it should be at least 72% Cacao and less than 5 grams of sugar so look for a high-quality chocolate. Studies have also found that after enjoying dark chocolate, people were more likely to offer to help someone else.

Enjoy these great foods every day to help you reduce stress, boost your energy and fight depression naturally.

Samantha McGraw is a life coach, speaker and mentor to women who want to live a happier, healthier, more fulfilling life. Her mission is to encourage each person she meets to love themselves and appreciate their uniqueness so that they can be the best version of themselves that they can be, navigating their journey with purpose, joy and balance.