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8 Mood-Boosting Foods to Help You Feel Happier

Feeling blue? Eating these mood-boosting foods, along with getting enough sleep and regular exercise, can help balance your mood swings and brighten your spirits.

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Dark chocolate; Shutterstock ID 98252645Justyna Kaminska/Shutterstock

Dark Chocolate

Good news: You can eat dark chocolate that contains at least 70 percent cocoa to combat depression! (It has these five other superfood powers, too.) The chemicals in dark chocolate release serotonin, a brain chemical that helps maintain mood and balance. Studies show that eating 1 to 2 ounces of dark chocolate a day over the course of two weeks can improve your mood. But don’t go overboard—chocolate is high in calories! Get your fix with a piece of Chocolate Lover’s Pizza.

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Homemade yogurt or sour cream in a wooden bowl; Shutterstock ID 515797933DONOT6_STUDIO/Shutterstock

Low-Fat Dairy

Skim milk, low-fat Greek yogurt and low-fat cheese have the calcium, vitamin D and proteins that help raise brain levels of dopamine, which boosts alertness and mood. Do your body and mind good with a healthy snack of Grapes with Lemon-Honey Yogurt.`

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Young spinach in a wooden plate; Shutterstock ID 127762526Dionisvera/Shutterstock


High levels of the amino acid homocysteine are linked to depression. Break down homocysteine levels in your blood with the rich folate content found in spinach and other leafy greens. We’ve got you covered with these superfood spinach recipes.

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Organic Brown Rice in the bowl on the wooden table; Shutterstock ID 280020284DONOT6_STUDIO/Shutterstock

Whole Grains

The healthy, high-fiber carbohydrates found in whole grains such as brown rice, oatmeal and whole wheat pasta help the body release serotonin, the “feel-good” chemical in your brain. These complex carbohydrates can improve your mood quickly, so try a delicious helping of Brown Rice Chutney Salad.

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Fresh Herb Brined TurkeyTaste of Home


The high level of tryptophan in turkey that makes you sleepy after your Thanksgiving meal also stimulates the production of serotonin. That’s why you’ll want to eat these juicy, golden turkey recipes all year round.

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Walnuts.Whole walnuts,walnuts kernels and nutcracker.; Shutterstock ID 348316256OksanaBgn/Shutterstock


We’ve all heard omega-3s are good for us, and walnuts are the one of the richest plant-based sources of these fatty acids. To help lessen the symptoms of depression and improve overall brain health, try eating handfuls of Rosemary Walnuts as your go-to snack.

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Fresh salmon with spices; Shutterstock ID 91610936hlphoto/Shutterstock

Fatty Fish

Looking for more ways to improve your mood with omega-3 fatty acids, while also boosting your circulation, reducing inflammation and warding off heart disease? Dishes that contain fatty fish such as mackerel, tuna or salmon should help do the trick.

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Boiled mussels in copper cooking dish on dark wooden background close up; Shutterstock ID 213081100Lisovskaya Natalia/Shutterstock


A vitamin B-12 deficiency may be a contributing factor of depression. Mussels have an exceptionally high concentration of vitamin B-12 along with trace amounts of selenium, which studies have linked to mood improvement. Get your B-12 fix by cooking up some Steamed Mussels with Peppers.

Dana Meredith
Dana is an editor and writer who shares her passion for travel, food and the beauty of American landscapes. When she's not wielding her red pen, she can be found tending her flower gardens, remodeling her house, creating one-of-a-kind jewelry or dancing to "Uptown Funk."