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8 Mood Boosting Foods and Recipes

by Jeanette on March 26, 2014 · 15 Comments
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Get a jumpstart on Spring with these 8 Mood Boosting Foods and Recipes.
Mood Boosting Recipes © Jeanette's Healthy Living

Spring has FINALLY come!! It was an incredibly long winter and I have to be honest – we still have snow banks outside out house so it doesn’t really feel like Spring yet.

Weather and sunlight definitely affect my mood, and keeping my spirits up the last couple of months when it’s been so cold and dark hasn’t been easy. Eating the right foods and exercising can make all the difference in how we feel, mentally and physically.

I’ve put together a list of 8 Mood Boosting Foods and 20+ Mood Boosting Recipes this week to give us all a jump-start for Spring:

1. Whole grain pasta – carbohydrates in pasta temporarily raise brain levels of serotonin, one of the “happy hormones.” Try Stir-Fry Noodles with Chicken and Vegetables.

Stir-Fry Noodles with Chicken and Vegetables

2. Onions, garlic, leeks, scallions, shallots – these are in the allium family and help ensure proper blood flow to the brain. They’re also a top source of chromium, a key trace mineral for happiness. Try Simply Sauteed Leafy Greens, Stir-Fry Broccoli and Red Peppers, Roasted Cauliflower or other vegetables with garlic and onions.

Roasted Rainbow Cauliflower and Potatoes

3. Foods high in folate such as spinach, brussels sprouts, broccoli, bok choy, asparagus, beets, lentils, chickpeas, black beans, pinto beans and kidney beans. Try Asian Sesame Spinach SaladBlack Bean, Corn, Avocado Salsa, Kalamata Olive HummusQuinoa and Lentils with Mixed Green Salad, or Roasted Beet, Grilled Corn and Tomato Salad.

Quinoa Lentil Mixed Green Salad

4.variety of fruits and vegetables which are packed with key nutrients and phytochemicals. Try a Mixed Green Salad with Roasted Beets, Oranges and Pomegranate Seeds or Peach Kiwi Avocado Pepper Salsa.

Roasted Beet Orange Pumpkin Seed Green Salad © Jeanette's Healthy Living

5. Selenium rich foods, including whole grains, beans and legumes, lean meats, low-fat dairy foods, nuts and seeds and seafood (oysters, clams, sardines, fish, crab). Try this Quinoa, Chickpea, Roasted Beet, Sunflower Seed Salad, or Maryland-Style Shrimp and Crab Gumbo.

Quinoa Butternut Squash Chickpea Salad

6. Omega-3 fatty acid rich seafood such as wild salmon, artic char, sardines, anchovies, herring, rainbow trout, oysters, mussels and shrimp. Try Chili Orange Roasted Salmon, Walnut Crusted Seared Wasabi Salmon or Chopped Salmon Arugula Salad with Honey Wasabi Vinaigrette.

Chili Salmon with Peach Kiwi Avocado Pepper Salsa © Jeanette's Healthy Living

7. Vitamin D rich and Vitamin D enriched foods, including salmon and tuna, dairy products and egg yolks. Vitamin D supplements can also help. Try Tuna Marinara or Tuna, Plum Tomatoes and Olives with whole grain pasta.

Pasta with Tuna Black Olives and Tomatoes

8. Dark chocolate – treat yourself to 1 ounce of dark chocolate, Cocoa Dusted Dark Chocolate Coated Almonds or Insanely Good Chocolate Brownies.

Elm Restaurant Cocoa Almonds © Jeanette's Healthy Living

What do you do to boost your mood? Please share!

WebMD: Foods to Help You Feel Better
Women’s Health: Natural Food For A Good Mood
Oprah: Foods That Boost Your Mood

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  1. Love this roundup!! This winter has definitely been a mental struggle but continuing to eat lots of fruits and veggies has definitely helped me get through!

  2. Jeanette Jeanette says:

    Thanks Joanne – it has been a really long winter! Yah for fruits and veggies to give us all a boost!

  3. SUCH a great roundup! I love that you explained how everything is mood boosting!! Pinning

  4. I remember some years ago finding a small book at our local dollar store. It was called “Happy Foods”, or something like that, and it was the first time I’d really thought about foods to improve your mood. Great post, Jeanette.

    • Jeanette Jeanette says:

      That sounds like an interesting find Lydia – I think it’s so easy to fall into a funk especially when we’re not feeling good, so staying on top of what I eat has been really helpful this long winter.

  5. Such a wealth of information here! Thanks for the great research you did to compile it.

  6. Such a tasty round up of mood boosting foods! Dark chocolate, salmon and potatoes always seem to work wonders for me!

  7. Great round-up! I love seeing Dark Chocolate on that list. 😉 Pinning this for later.

  8. Hi – So important to feed our brain and our mind! Then, our good moods can help others! Love the links here. And one of my favorite yummy tasting, nutrient-dense and effective ways I use food as a mood elevator is cacao. In my morning smoothies it goes and my spirits seem lifted!

  9. What a great list, I do pretty good except with the chocolate, sometimes it’s hard to only have 1 ounce.

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