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Feeling a bit on edge at the moment? Yeah, us too. However, help is on the way! Nutritionists and researchers are finding that our diet has a direct impact on our mood and sense of wellbeing. Can what we eat actually affect our happiness? With almost nothing to lose, why not give it a try? Here are the surprising foods that seem to directly impact and best boost our mood – think of it as a happiness diet. Turns out food joy is a real thing.

Can a food product actually boost your mood?

No matter the season, we all want to feel our best, right? Sometimes, it doesn’t take much to make us smile, but other times… well, we all need a little help. Even the brightest day can’t always ward off those summertime blues – not to mention the regular changes in that mood we all experience.

That’s why we’re diving into the season with a plate full of our favorite mood boosters. In addition to all the other things we do to help ourselves feel good – such as a get a full night’s sleep, drink plenty of water, and move our bodies – we also know that our diet also has a major impact on how we feel. That’s why we’re sharing this list of mood-boosting foods – foods that are packed with the right nutrients that will help you feel your best.

If you want to smile your way through these next few months, here are the ten foods you should eat to boost your mood.

The 10 best food products to boost your mood

1. Salmon

First up on our list? Salmon. We love salmon. And lucky for us, it loves us back. Our favorite fish is packed with omega-3 fatty acids, and those acids have been shown to have a positive impact on our mental health. According to Shoreline Wild Salmon, fatty acids can potentially curb symptoms of depression, as well as prevent memory loss and improve cognitive function. Furthermore, since our bodies are not able to produce omega-3 fatty acids on their own, we need to eat foods like salmon in order to make sure we have enough of them. We see a sushi date in your future.

The happiness diet: food to eat to boost your mood

Diet affects happiness, and here are some of the best food products to boost your mood. Salmon.

2. Olive Oil

It’s all about those fatty acids. When it comes to decreasing our risk for depression, olive oil is another great food to keep in mind. Olive oil is rich in monosaturated fatty acids, and studies have shown that these are key players in the fight against depression and anxiety. And what’s more, Morocco Gold tells us that olive oil has also been shown to improve our sleep, and fill us with the antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that our bodies crave. And hey, we love any excuse to enjoy the bowl of olive oil at an Italian restaurant (and maybe a slice of bread along with it).

3. Blueberries

Well, call us Violet Beauregarde. Thanks to their anti-inflammatory compounds and antioxidants, blueberries may be able to improve both mood and brain function in people of all ages. According to Nutrition Facts, “Two hours after consuming about two cups of blueberries, young adults and younger children experienced improved positive moods, such as feeling more enthusiastic, inspired, alert, and attentive.” Now we know what to add to our shopping carts.

The 10 best food products to boost your mood this Summer 2023

Fresh summer blueberries are one of the foods to eat to increase happiness and a sense of well-being.

4. Dark Chocolate

If you’re anything like us, you got excited when you saw dark chocolate on this list. But it’s true: dark chocolate may have more health benefits than we possibly could have imagined. This is something we’d heard before, but now we know why. Science Direct explains that dark chocolate’s health benefits come from its impact on the gut-brain axis, which can in turn have a significant impact on our moods. We’re thrilled to make a daily dose of chocolate part of our summer diet.

The happiness diet: food to eat to boost your mood

Chocolate is part of the happiness diet: the best food to eat to boost your mood.

5. Avocado

Maybe millennials had the right idea. It turns out that avocados are high in folate, which is necessary for regulating our bodies’ homocysteine; homocysteine is important, but in excess can interfere with our serotonin and dopamine production – in other words, the things that make us happy. For those reasons, avocados may be a secret (and delicious) asset in our fight for joy. And best of all, you can feel guilt-free the next time you order your $17 toast.

The happiness diet

The happiness diet: food to eat to boost your mood. Avocados.

6. Bananas

Maybe when they said, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” they should have said “banana” instead. Bananas are full of vitamin B6 – a vitamin that has been shown to reduce stress, depression, and anxiety, as well as do some serious mood boosting. How? Well, B6 is able to produce serotonin, and we all know how much we crave that little chemical. And bananas are also high in potassium, which is also shown to allegedly improve mood. Next time you’re feeling down, have a banana.

7. Fermented Foods

Kimchi. Kombucha. Yogurt. What do these three things have in common? Well, they’re all fermented. And also? They all may the power to boost our moods. Because fermented foods are full of probiotics, they impact how we fee – thanks to the strong link between our gut bacteria and our brains. The science may sound complicated, but the results are not. Fill your meals with fermented foods, and you’ll feel the difference. We promise.

8. Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds! These little guys can sometimes fly under the radar, but we’re ready to make them a major part of our diet. Since sunflower seeds are full of tryptophan, and tryptophan is a “precursor of serotonin,” they may be able to improve the symptoms of depression. And if you’re looking for a way to add a little pizzazz, Food52 has got you covered with their recipe for hot and sunny sunflower seeds.

9. Pomegranates

Pomegranates are an underrated fruit. We don’t think about them all that often, but we always love the ones we eat. And apparently we should eat more of them. According to a study by the University of Edinburgh, pomegranates are full of antioxidants – and as a result, they help to boost mood and energy levels. Pomegranates have often served as a symbol for good health, and so it seems likely that these benefits have been known for centuries – and it’s time that we make the most of them.

10. Coffee

And last – but never, ever least – coffee. It’s a relief to learn that the drink upon which so many of us rely is actually not so bad for us after all. In fact, coffee’s natural benefits may have already been intuitive to many of you. The caffeine works to stimulate our central nervous systems, which can then improve our energy levels, our alertness, our cognitive function, and even our focus. Next time you need to pause for an afternoon coffee break, just tell yourself – it’s good for you.

The 10 best food products to boost your mood this Summer 2023

It turns out that our diet and meal choices have a big impact on our overall happiness. So we’re going to give some of these expert recommendations on the best food to eat to boost our mood a try. ‘Cause why not? Avocado toast for all!

Abbie Martin Greenbaum

Abbie Martin Greenbaum is a writer, reader, and pop culture connoisseur, who loves storytelling, coffee, and dessert. Her work has also appeared in Playbill.