7 Foods That Boost Bad Moods
Stressed? Eat chocolate.
Experts say that chocolate—particularly dark chocolate—may help reduce the stress hormones that are swarming in your body. In fact, a recent study by researchers in Switzerland, published in the Journal of Proteome Research, found that eating just a smidge of dark chocolate (about 1.4 ounces) has the power to lower the stress hormones cortisol and catecholamines in the body; reducing your anxiety.
Sluggish? Eat a spinach salad.
The best way to get a boost? Eat folate-rich foods like spinach and other leafy green vegetables as well as potatoes, fortified breads and cereals, beans, peas and mushrooms.
Cranky? Eat an apple with peanut butter.
To blast irritability, “eat combination foods at each meal and snack,” says Dr. Dolgoff. “Combination foods contain a carbohydrate in combination with either some protein or some fat. Carbohydrates are a great source of energy that quickly burns out. Adding some fat or protein will slow the digestion process, causing your sugar and energy levels to remain stable for a longer amount of time. A great example of a combination snack is an apple with peanut butter. The apple is your healthy complex carbohydrate and the peanut butter is a healthy fat. Combining these powerhouse foods tastes delicious and gives you energy that lasts for hours!”
Anxious? Eat a salmon burger.
If anxiety and worries are consuming your day, consider heading out to lunch with a friend. The conversation will do you good, and so will the meal—if you order salmon, which is one of the richest sources of omega-3 fatty acids, a nutrient that may help tame your anxiety. “Regular consumption of omega-3s has extensive research support for both the prevention and treatment of clinical depression. And there’s growing evidence that omega-3s also help reduce anger and irritability,” says Stephen Ilardi, PhD, author of The Depression Cure. While there are plant-based sources of omega-3s, Dr. Ilardi says it’s best to stick with fish: “The specific form of omega-3 that most strongly boosts mood is found most abundantly in coldwater fish such as salmon, herring, sardines and mackerel,” he says.
Angry? Sip green tea.
If you need to calm down fast, consider sipping a cup of green tea, says Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, a researcher, nutrition expert and author of Beat Sugar Addiction NOW! Here’s why: “Green tea contains theanine, which calms you and helps you maintain clear concentration and focus,” he says. Green tea’s modest amount of caffeine won’t send you into an angry rage, either; it’s gentler on your body than coffee.
Sad? Eat whole grain cereal with low-fat milk.
If you’re low on vitamin D, you may be affecting your body’s ability to stabilize your mood and reduce feelings of depression. To boost your intake of vitamin D, turn to low-fat fortified milk, fortified cereals or mushrooms.
PMS? Eat an egg salad sandwich.
Carbs help your body boost its serotonin levels, in turn helping you improve your mood. But avoid high-sugar, high-fat carbohydrates, like doughnuts or chips, which can leave you feeling sluggish—or worse, grumpy—after your blood sugar spikes, then drops. Opt for whole grains, such as whole-wheat bread, and for extra PMS-zapping strength, pair them with tryptophan-rich protein such as eggs, sunflower seeds or turkey, which may enhance the release of serotonin, adds Metsovas. An egg-salad sandwich on whole-grain bread offers the perfect carbohydrate-tryptophan combination.