7 Healthy Foods that Improve Your Mood

what food can boost a bad mood

Having a grouchy morning? Are you experiencing stress almost every day? Having a tough decision-making job?

Many of us crave for certain food when feeling sad, anxious or depressed. Although being an emotional eater is not good at all, for those who are having a tough time changing this habit, it is good to know that there are healthier foods on the menu.

What can we eat for better mood? Here is a list of food that can change the way we feel.


Apple with Peanut Butter for Cranky People

How can we recognize a cranky person? The first place one can experience crankiness is at the office or generally at working place. Cranky persons are infectious, and their frequent emotional outburst and subtle mental harassments can drain the joy out of you.

The first step in battling this bad mood is the ability to recognize it, and once you do it, the battle, in fact, has just started.

It is easier to deal with cranky persons, than to deal with your crankiness, right? Then, what can we do? We are lucky to have a certain food that can help us fight this unpleasant emotional state. Why?

Crankiness is the sign that our body needs additional fuel. The best fuel is the combination of carbohydrates with either protein or fat. Carbohydrates burn quickly, and proteins and fat cause the sugar level to remain stable.

Apples are healthy carbohydrates, while peanut butter is a healthy fat.

apples - food for cranky people

Combine these two, and feel the energy that lasts for hours.


Green tea for Angry People

Anger is a very serious problem. It can trigger easily and have long-lasting consequences, both in the mental and physical sphere.

Angry people are dangerous and unpredictable. The reasons for sudden anger (although the anger is not necessarily sudden) vary – the neighbor’s dog barked all night long, the traffic jam, flight cancelation, life-threatening situations. Whatever the reason is, if you need to calm down fast, green tea is your best choice.

green tea - beverage for angry people

Green tea is a very powerful beverage. It contains theanine, a compound that helps you calm down and maintain focus and concentration. Although green tea has a certain amount of caffeine, the caffeine will not backfire and create angry rage.


Chocolate for Stressed People

What more can you wish for than chocolate as a stress reliever? Unfortunately, we are experiencing stress daily. The stress will not only influence our social and business life but on our overall health.

Chronic headaches, muscle pains, digestion problems, even heart problems, can intensify because of chronic stress. The problem with stress is its strong connection with emotions and thoughts, and its prolonged effects – it may last for hours and days, even weeks, causing serious damage to our organism, metabolism, and immune system.

Is there something that can calm us down fast? The answer is chocolate, particularly dark chocolate. This delicious snack has the power to lower down the stress hormones – cortisol and catecholamine. This way, chocolate reduces anxiety and bursting emotions.

chocolate - food for stressed people


Grain Cereals and Low-fat Milk for Sad People

Are you feeling sad? Various things can cause sadness, but one of the least expected causes, or the one we often overlook, is a deficiency of vitamin D.

We know that serotonin is a hormone in charge of our positive feelings and happy mood, but what we may not know is that vitamin D can help in the production of this neurotransmitter.

When we are experiencing sad emotions, and depression, we are lacking vitamin D. A healthy meal that includes low-fat milk and grain cereals will boost the intake of vitamin D.

milk - low-fat milk for sad people


Spinach Salad for Sluggish People

How can one recognize sluggish people? They seem to be tired all the time, both mentally and physically. What are the causes? Sometimes, too much exercising or no exercising at all can cause a lack of energy. People who have trouble falling asleep or having a healthy and peaceful sleep will experience tiredness as well.

Due to sugar and insulin production, sweets can cause sluggish disposition as well.

Whatever the cause is, spinach salad can help us regain our energy and bring us back on track. Spinach is rich in folic acid that helps the body lower homocysteine levels. When homocysteine levels are high, we are experiencing problems related to the blood flow and damage to blood vessels. Impaired blood flow causes sluggish feelings and an inability to concentrate and process information.

Apart from spinach, one can eat other folate-rich food such as leafy green vegetables, beans, peas, mushrooms, and potatoes.  In addition, dark leafy greens, such as spinach, turnip, and romaine lettuce are packed with magnesium, a mineral that contributes to normal nerve function.

spinach - food sluggish people


Salmon Burger for Anxious People

It seems that people are worried all the time – and although many of the concerns are unnecessary and insignificant, the obsessions with other seemingly small problems can lead to serious behavior problems.

The studies have shown that omega – 3 fatty acids can help reduce anxiety. These fatty acids aid mood and memory and alleviate mild depression.

Salmon, for instance, is one of the best foods that can help tame anxiety. Moreover, salmon is also rich in vitamin B12 that helps in the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter responsible for good and positive mood. Other great sources of omega – 3s are found in cold-water fish – herring, sardines, and mackerel.

salmon burger - food for anxious people


Fruits, Vegetables and Other Whole Foods for Depressed People

Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants that are well-known fighters against depression. Moreover, this food is also rich in folic acid and B vitamins that affect the neurotransmitters responsible for a good mood.

Studies showed that those who eat whole foods, and raw fruits and vegetables are less likely to feel depressed or to have obvious mood swings during the day.

banana - food depressed people

Banana, for instance, is a powerful fruit that helps convert tryptophan into serotonin, and serotonin, on the other hand, helps boost good mood and aids good sleep, which is also important for energy and metabolism. A banana in the morning will help you stay positive and joyful.


What food should we avoid?


Foods packed with sugar

Although sugary foods can boost energy and change a bad mood, the sudden boost is followed by a sudden decrease, in fact, mood crash. This situation will only lead to reaching for more sugary foods.



A brief pleasant and relaxed state of mind that alcohol can produce should not influence your judgment whether or not alcohol is a good mood booster – one is likely to feel anxiety, low mood, and irritability the next day.  This does not mean that a glass of wine a day is harmful; it means that you should not exaggerate with alcohol intake.


Planck, N. (2007). What to Eat and Why. Bloomsbury USA.
Willett, W.C. & Skerrett, P.J. (2005). Eat, Drink and Be Healthy: The Harvard Medical School Guide to Healthy Eating. Free Press.

Images credits: DepositPhotos.com

Last article update: 9/18/2019