6 Foods to Boost Your Mood


Image courtesy of Kristin Porter, Iowa Girl Eats

We all know that when you are hungry, it can affect your mood in the most negative of ways (just try googling the word “hangry.”) But have you ever considered that perhaps when you do eat, the foods you choose can also affect the way you feel?

Here are some of our favorite picks for foods to boost your mood, why they work – and (most importantly) how to enjoy them:

Pumpkin seeds
Pumpkin seeds are a tasty source of potassium and magnesium. The magnesium, especially, may help alleviate common ills from insomnia and nervousness to headaches.

A seasonal treat that can be enjoyed in a variety of dishes, pumpkin seeds are especially abundant this time of year. Try them in this Healthy Pumpkin Granola from Leelalicious.

Dark, leafy greens
Another source of magnesium, hardy greens like kale and Swiss chard can also help you feel less stressed.

Some recipes we’re loving:

Slow Cooker Quinoa, Chicken and Kale Soup, Cooking Classy
Whole Grain Salad with Swiss Chard & Cherries, Heartbeet Kitchen


Along with some varieties of fish, flaxseed is known to have a high omega-3 content. This fact landed flaxseed on NPR’s list of stress-busting foods.

These Quinoa Protein Power Bars from Cooking Quinoa offer a wonderful way to enjoy flaxseed on the go.

Red bell peppers
… But not just red bell peppers. Papaya, kiwi, leafy greens, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, berries and of course oranges all contain vitamin C, which has been shown by multiple studies to help curb stress hormones.

How to easily and deliciously get more vitamin C into your diet:

Quinoa Chili, ifoodreal
Quinoa with Caramelized Butternut Squash and Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Iowa Girl Eats (pictured)
Quinoa Papaya Salad, The Healthy Foodie

Although only 80 calories, a single egg contains protein, calcium, iron, zinc, selenium, phosphorous and vitamins A, D, E, and K – making it one of the most nutritionally dense foods you can eat, and also a means to possibly elevate your mood.

Enjoy the benefits of eggs in this Quinoa Egg Fried ‘Rice’ from Amuse Your Bouche.

Dark chocolate
While we typically eat it simply because we love it, dark chocolate also contains cocoa flavanols that can help boost our moods and clear our heads. What’s more, according to the Medical Wellness Association, consuming chocolate stimulates the release of endorphins and gives us a dose of tryptophan – which the brain needs to produce serotonin, or the brain’s “happy chemical.”

When selecting your mood-boosting piece of chocolate, reach for the dark stuff (as opposed to sugary milk chocolate) that has a high cocoa content. Enjoy it alone, or try one of these recipes:

Overnight Quinoa-Chia Chocolate Breakfast Pudding, Boulder Locavore
Salted Quinoa Chocolate Bark with Pistachios, Cooking Quinoa
Quinoa Chocolate Cupcakes, Cake on the Brain

For even more delicious, gluten-free recipes, be sure to check out the recipes page at AncientHarvest.com.