It happens to the best of us. Some days just don’t go as planned and it seems your mood is to blame. Perhaps you’ve experienced moments, minutes, or hours when you are just in a funk or have a case of the grumpies for no reason at all. Would you believe me if I told you that choosing certain foods could actually improve your mood?

One of the most well-known pieces of dietary advice is to eat five portions of fruits and vegetables a day, but I think we should start a new campaign. This campaign would be designed to help the overwhelming percentage of the population in need of stress reduction, spirit rejuvenation, and increased energy.

As a firm believer in the concept that “food is medicine”, let me suggest five foods that have been shown to act as natural anti-depressant, mood-boosting, anti-oxidant packed substances! Here we go…

GRAPES. No denying that many people would prefer to relax with a glass of wine as their drink of choice after a long, hard day, but grapes actually do help you to relax on many levels. Oxidative stress, the form of stress caused by free radicals in the body, can have a damaging effect on the brain. Grapes, however, have been found to counteract the free radical damage and relax blood vessels. Rather than waiting for the evening to arrive so you can enjoy your wine, try to add grapes earlier on in your day to help you flow freely, letting the hours pass without unnecessary stress.

KALE. Most know that leafy greens are a healthy addition to the diet, but perhaps you didn’t realize that kale is nutrition powerhouse among the leafy green family. Did you realize that while you are helping to detoxify the body, you are also “detoxifying” the mind? Kale is rich in carotenoids, known to boost moods and lead to a brighter outlook on life. The relationship between carotenoids and mood is a bit unclear, but a recent Harvard School of Public health study suggests that the beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, the powerful nutrients found in kale, are associated with increased optimism in mid-life adults.

WALNUTS. Walnuts may be a great addition to brownies, salads, and oatmeal because of the taste and texture this nut provides, but walnuts are much more powerful than you may have realized. A brain “on walnuts” is a happy brain. This particular nut is packed with antioxidants and omega 3 fatty acids, causing it to act as a powerful mood-enhancing food. Rich in magnesium, walnuts boost serotonin levels, causing brain cells to fire the neurons that result in a better mood and an uplifted spirit.

GREEK YOGURT. Having gained popularity over the last few years, this yogurt is a great source of protein and probiotics. This creamy yogurt not only boosts your immune system due to the healthy bacteria that your gut craves, but it also has been shown to boost your outlook on life. Greek yogurt elevates dopamine and norepinephrine, brain chemicals that help to alleviate depression. In addition, the calcium found in dairy has been shown to reduce irritability, helping you to turn that frown upside down and have a happy day.

SALMON. Proper nourishment of the brain is a high priority to keep stress at bay and sail through your day. Optimal brain function requires properly nourishing your body with the right nutrient building blocks, including omega-3 fats. These “healthy” fats are an essential addition to help boost your mood. Consider that the brain is 60% fat, so show your brain some love and add in omega-3 fatty acids, which can be found in salmon among other fatty fish, to alleviate depression and somber moods. Ready to eat your way to a better day? 

Check out our Metabolic Living YouTube Channel for some fantastic recipes from our lead nutritionist, Bella, and get ready to embark on some mood-boosting meal prep!