It turns out you really are what you eat.
Serotonin—”the happiness hormone—” is a chemical in our brain that regulates mood. Over the years, scientists have found that certain foods play a crucial role in increasing or producing this chemical that can elevate your mood.
From oranges to chia seeds, these 24 foods are great for turning a frown upside down.
Bananas are not only loaded with the ultimate happiness booster, potassium, but they also contain a powerful amino acid, tryptophan(TRP), which acts like a mood stabilizer and helps in boosting serotonin levels.
This mighty fruit can also turn a frown upside down because it’s a good source of B vitamin folate—low levels of it are linked to mood disorders.
Feeling beat? -Try eating beets. Beets are a great source of betaine,which promotes serotonin production in the brain. Beets also contain folic acid, which stabilizes emotional and mental health.
Cracking some shells in the morning is a great way to get your mood on the “sunny side up.” According to many studies, eggs are great mood regulators.
Eggs are packed with nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, zinc, Vitamin D, folate, and iodide, which are known to improve the health of brain cells and contribute to feeling more energetic and stable.
According to research by Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies, berries contain nutrients that have the chemical similarity to valproic acid—a prescription mood-stabilizing drug. Berries also contain flavonoid anthocyanidin, which reduces inflammation and promotes the production of the mood-boosting serotonin.
The protein-packed whole grain has been enjoying its time in the limelight recently. And there is a good reason why. According to a 2010 study in the Journal of Neuropharmacology, quinoa contains a flavonoid known as quercetin, which has been shown to have mood-improving effects.
Oysters already have a reputation for purportedly being an aphrodisiac food. As it turns out, they’re also great for boosting your mood north of the navel. Oysters are loaded with iron, potassium, magnesium, and omega-3s, all proven excellent mood boosters. Oysters are also chock-full of zinc, and according to a study in Nutrition and Metabolic Insights, low levels of zinc have been linked to anxiety.
When you have the winter blues, this tropical fruit might lift your spirits. Coconut is loaded with medium-chain triglycerides fats known to promote the production of serotonin in the brain. According to a joint study by SUNY Albany and Yale researchers, coconut also has a neuroprotective effect.
Greek yogurt contains higher levels of calcium than milk or regular yogurt. And calcium works miracles in fighting the grumps and grouches. Studies show that low calcium levels are linked to impaired memory, irritability, and slow thinking. Greek yogurt is also loaded with protein, which will keep you full and energized.
It turns out that the warm and fuzzy feeling you get when you eat chocolate is scientifically backed up. According to a study by the British Pharmacological Society, cocoa contains flavonols that boost cognitive performance and improves blood flow to your brain. According to a study in the Journal of Proteome Research, dark chocolate is also a great source of antioxidants and reduces the stress hormone cortisol.
But chocoholics should keep in mind that only dark unsweetened chocolate has these benefits, as other cocoa-based sweets are packed with sugars and unhealthy fats, which are often bad news for your health.
An apple a day can keep the blues at bay. According to the British Journal of Health Psychology, eating fruits like apples regularly creates more energy, produces a soothing effect, and boosts overall happiness.
Now we have the answer to why the millennials are more relaxed than other generations. It’s because of their invention— the almighty avocado toast. A 2020 study found that avocados contain healthy fats that reduce anxiety. But that’s not all—choline, which regulates your nervous system and mood—is found in abundance in the creamy fruit. Avocados are also rich in vitamin B, which has been linked to reducing stress levels.
One of the most important nutritional components in pumpkin seeds is tryptophan, an amino acid that stimulates the production of serotonin in the brain. Tryptophan can also help you sleep better at night and wake up refreshed in the morning.
Wondering why Popeye is one jolly sailor? It is from all the spinach he eats. According to the Journal of Physiology, spinach is a great source of folic acid, which reduces fatigue and alleviates depression. Spinach is also a powerful source of iron, which is essential for feeling energized and vibrant.
According to a study in the journal of Pharmacological Research, omega-3 fatty acids in salmon can reduce inflammation throughout the body, and improve mood.
Whether mushy, frozen, or fresh, peas can make you happy. A great source of iron, peas are a great way to combat the blues and will keep you energized.
Chicken dinner might be a winner for getting you in a good mood. Chicken is rich in mood-boosting nutrients like zinc, B6, and potassium. A study conducted at the University of Adelaide and Queen Elizabeth Hospital found that eating a high-protein diet, such as chicken, improved female self-esteem.
Apricots are mighty weapons for battling a lousy mood. Studies have linked these stone fruits with increased production of serotonin in the brain due to their high vitamin C and beta-carotene levels.
A great source of omega-3 fatty acids, walnuts are also loaded with mono- and polyunsaturated fats that promote heart health. A study at the University of New Mexico
found that young men who consumed a half-cup of walnuts each day saw significant improvements in their moods within eight weeks.
As a nutrition powerhouse, lentils are loaded with B-6, protein, and complex carbohydrates and can help promote the production of serotonin in the brain.
We all know that millennials turned the leafy green veggie into “celebrity food.” But we didn’t know kale is more than just a food trend. A single cup of kale contains a full day’s worth of Vitamin C, B-6, iron, and potassium, all of which are great for increasing serotonin levels.
Magnesium is scientifically proven to boost serotonin, and beans are chock-full of this nutrient. The tiny but mighty legumes are also loaded with happiness boosters like antioxidants, fiber, iron, copper, and zinc.
Feeling blue? Try oranges. A study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that vitamin C is linked with reduced mood disorders. According to the study, citrus consumption reduced risk by up to 18 percent in women who consumed two or more servings a day.
Whether you use them in a smoothie, oatmeal, or dessert, chia seeds will make you happy. They are packed with omega-3s, which are great for serotonin production and improving brain function.
The yellow spice is more powerful than you previously thought. According to ethnobotanist Chris Kilham, turmeric contains curcumin, which has been shown to boost mood.