Mood Boosting Foods, According to Research!

You’ve had a stormy breakup, a lousy day at your job, or just too drained to cook. You’re longing for comfort or mood boosting food. So, you go for … a salad? Probably not. But if it’s the satisfaction you want, those leafy greens are a more suitable pick than a box of ice cream or a bowl of mac or cheese.

“You may undergo an initial pleasant feel, but comforting foods are eventually distress for the brain,” said Ellie Krieger, an American licensed dietitian, and nutritionist. (She is the host of Healthy Appetite with Ellie Krieger on Food Network and Ellie’s Real Good Food on PBS)

At AMVital, we have endorsed the views and suggestions of highly qualified faculty to help you understand the foods that boost your mood.

Mood Boosting Food

Research & The Take of Nutritionists

Tryptophan is an amino acid that supports the body in making serotonin, a mood-boosting hormone. Eating ice cream and high-carb foods deems good because it transmits tryptophan to the brain, said Ellie Krieger, who authored a book published in 2020 that analyzed the links among nutrition, mood, and the brain. But that good feeling can evolve into addiction, pushing the body to desire foods that will finally lower mood levels and increase blood sugar levels.

Foodstuffs high in sugar, refined flour, or saturated fats trigger inflammation, which is deeply related to depression and bad mood.

Contrarily, research suggests that a diet high in fruits, veggies, fish, and whole grains can decrease your risk for depression by combating inflammation or chronic inflammation. For every 100 grams of fruits or vegetables ingested, the risk for depression drops by up to 5 percent, according to a meta-analysis of 18 studies published in the US Journal of Nutrition in 2018.

But since salads don’t yield an instant joy bump, people don’t link them with praising moods. And we’re not prepared to think of them that way, Ellie said.

“Physicians don’t say, ‘Eat your leafy green vegetables because they will eventually enhance your mood.’ People need to understand the meaning of eating a colorful salad.”

Another reason people don’t go for nourishing foods to improve mood is they “don’t necessarily consume for health,” said Mila Rechcigl, a trained biochemist, nutritionist, and cancer researcher, writer,  and editor. 

1- Fish- A Mood Boosting Food

Eating fish provides more omega-3 fatty acids in your meals than your body needs. Researchers have reported that omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids may be mood stabilizers, recreating a role in cognitive well-being. These are found in fish and some plant foods too.

A current study discovered that fish consumption was related to sounder mental health (as noted by the participants) — even after the researchers permitted other factors that could impact the results.

mood boosting food

Among new mommies, another study saw that lower levels of fish intake, along with lower levels of DHA (the omega-3 fatty acid found in fish) in breast milk, tended to be related to higher rates of postpartum anxiety.

Eating plant nutrition rich in omega-3s is also probably a fair idea.

Ground flaxseed is a good source for mood boosting food (1 tablespoon a day is considered safe and effective for most individuals; check with your medic if you are pregnant, nursing, or have any concerns). Other sources include canola oil, purslane (an herb), cauliflower, red kidney beans, and broccoli.

2- Selenium-rich Foods

Selenium is a mineral the brain can depend on. Five major studies have documented low selenium consumption attached to poorer moods. Although the grounds are ambiguous, researchers have some indications. How the brain metabolizes selenium varies from other organs: When there’s a shortage of selenium, the brain keeps this mineral to a greater extent — directing some researchers to accept that it plays a vital role in the brain and is rendered as mood boosting food.

Foods having selenium

selenium mood boosting food

Not including organ meats, which are also surprisingly high in cholesterol, including Brazil nuts, oysters, albacore tuna, clams, sardines, pork tenderloin, crab, saltwater and freshwater fish, whole-wheat and regular portions of pasta, lean pork chops, chicken (dark and light meat), lean lamb, sunflower seeds, whole-wheat bread, simple bagels, brown rice, oatmeal, flour tortillas, soynuts, eggs, low-fat cottage cheese, tofu, pinto beans, and low-fat yogurt.

3- Dark Leafy Greens- Mood Boosting Food

Iron (and B vitamins) also help us build energy, and more power may direct us to be positive and maintain our ability to experience the activities we relish. These are wealthy in nutrients, including fiber to balance blood sugar, B vitamins to increase brain function, and iron. Evidence indicates that iron deficiency is related to altered emotional behavior, anxiety, and the disturbance of neurotransmitters. Elevated levels of iron in the brain, however, can also damage neurotransmitters – it’s a Goldilocks trouble where you get your iron levels’ just good’.

So grasp plenty of spinach, kale, collards, Swiss chard, mizuna, mustard greens, dandelion, or whichever dark leafy greens you like, and try various forms to include them in your meals.

4- Turmeric – A Mood Boosting Food

“Some research indicates that turmeric does have a favorable relationship with boosting mood and brain. Initial research presents that mood progress is connected to the overall refinement of health and functioning, i.e., inflammation within the body lowers, the pain subsides, and the individual feels sounder,” Dr. Alfred illustrates. 

A meta-analysis posted in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition found proof pointing out that curcumin may ease symptoms of depression and anxiety when fused with standard treatments for those ailments. But researchers reported that these conclusions should be analyzed cautiously because only a few people were included in the studies.

turmeric powder

Researchers need to study turmeric further before it can be recommended for managing depression, but this spice is tough to comprehend correctly for several reasons. Curcumin is unstable, meaning that as it’s metabolized by the body, it quickly tarnishes into other substances. It also has a low absorption rate, meaning very little of it actually arrives in the bloodstream to be absorbed by the body, NCCIH reports. But if you consume the right proportion of warming spices like black pepper or ginger, it will work as mood boosting food.

5- Eggs

Since the brain is more exposed to oxidative damage, eating antioxidant-rich foods can help save and maintain the brain (and our positive mood in response). One of our favored mood boosting food, eggs, is high in protein, Vitamin D, and B12. They have a freight of choline, a nutrient that supports the nervous system, enhances mood, and helps stimulate neurotransmitters, as well as the antioxidant selenium.


Eggs are effortless to make and cart when you’re on the go, and there are plenty of ways you can consume them:

  • Hard-boiled as a snack
  • Scrambled with steamed greens or other veggies
  • Omelet
  • Simmer them on toast with avocado
  • Use them in baking
  • Hard-boiled or hard-poached on a salad or recipe-free dinner bowl

6- Coffee- A Mood Boosting Food

Coffee is the world’s most famous beverage, and it may make the globe a bit delighted. The caffeine in coffee controls a naturally appearing compound called adenosine from affixing to brain receptors that promote fatigue, therefore advancing alertness and concentration. More so, it improves the discharge of mood-boosting neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and norepinephrine.

A study of 72 people encountered that both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee greatly improved mood than those who took a placebo drink, indicating that coffee contains other compounds that influence mood.

Researchers attributed this gain in attitude to various phenolic mixes, like chlorogenic acid. Still, more research is needed.

7- Boost Your Serotonin Levels

Serotonin — the “feel-good” neurotransmitter — displays “happy” messages to your brain. Primarily, the more serotonin spreads in your bloodstream, the finer your mood. According to some analyses, the other aspect of this coin is that low serotonin levels can decline mood and improve aggression.

Several components of food may affect the serotonin levels in our brains, including:

Role of Tryptophan. As more of the amino acid tryptophan penetrates the brain, more mood-improving serotonin is made in the brain. Other amino acids are good at getting into the brain from the bloodstream. Tryptophan is in almost all protein-rich foods, but the way to gain more of it is not necessary to ingest these foods. Eating carbs appears to help tryptophan’s odds of crossing the blood/brain barrier.

You can add these sources of foods that boost mood:

  • Carbohydrates

    The carbohydrate-serotonin relationship is a double-edged sword. We need carbs, particularly those that come with bunches of fiber and other nutrients — like whole grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables. But Judith Wartman, Ph.D., a Massachusetts Institute of Technology researcher specializing in food and mood, questions many women who learn to overeat carbs (especially snacky foods) to make themselves feel good. Of course, this contributes to weight gain.

Some researchers consider carbohydrate-rich foods to influence your moods in other ways, maybe because of the pleasant feelings and rememberings we associate with taking these foods as children.

  • Folic Acid (Folate)

    Too little folic acid in our meals can induce lower brain serotonin levels. Some studies recommend that having folate supplements (there’s a day’s nutrition in most multivitamins) and eating a folate-rich diet may benefit people with depression and migraines.

Folate-rich foods contain spinach, green soybeans, lentils, romaine lettuce, pinto beans, black beans, navy beans, kidney beans, broccoli, asparagus, greens, orange juice, beets, papaya, Brussels sprouts, and tofu.

  • Alcohol. You don’t have to be an ace to conclude that alcohol is presumably not a mood stabilizer and that you should sidestep excessive amounts to crush low moods. But scientific evidence even points to an association between serotonin dysfunction, unfavorable moods, and inflated alcohol.
  • Chocolates

    Chocolate makes your mood uplifting! It possesses several potent compounds such as phenylethylamine, which raises endorphins, and anandamide, otherwise called ‘the bliss chemical.’ Studies on chocolate reveal that it can enhance mood and cognition, plus it’s a rich origin of antioxidants, iron, and magnesium to assist us in relaxing. Evidence indicates that chocolate is beneficial when consumed mindfully – so don’t gulp it all at once; savor it rather.



Taiba Tariq

Taiba Tariq is a healthcare nutrition hobbyist, enthusiastic about researching healthcare & skincare news while analyzing the latest and science-backed evidence about nutrition, skin care, and supplements. She wants to help people regain their beauty, health, and well-being through natural means.

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