These 11 Foods Are Scientifically Proven to Boost Your Mood

Turn that frown upside down

OK, we’ve all heard the adage “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” But a study by the American Journal of Public Health has found that eating fruits and veggies can actually help improve your mental health, too. Subjects reported increased happiness for each additional serving they ate in a day. So the next time you’re feeling down, reach for one of these 11 foods.

9 Secrets of Women Who Are Always in a Good Mood

good mood food spinach


Dark green veggies are rich in folate, a B vitamin that affects the mood-controlling neurotransmitters in your brain. Yay, science.

good mood food orange


Mandarins, clementines, navel oranges, grapefruit, you name it. They’re all packed with folate, a B vitamin that's an instant mood booster.

good mood food banana


Three reasons to make this ingredient a smoothie staple: potassium (improves brain function), B6 (increases serotonin, which calms the body) and tryptophan (the happy amino acid that regulates mood).

good mood food swiss chard

Swiss Chard

Magnesium gives you an instant shot of energy and also staves off depression. Plus, it’s one of the nutrients lacking in the average diet, so sauté some up as a regular side dish.

good mood food berries


Say hello to the best carbs ever. Berries provide a boost of glucose, which can decrease irritability.

good mood food blue potatoes

Blue Potatoes

Look for these pretty spuds the next time you’re at the farmers' market. They’re packed with antioxidants that reduce inflammation (a known mood killer) and are loaded with iodine, which helps regulate your thyroid (aka the mood master).

good mood food asparagus


Load up on the triple threat when it’s in season this spring: It’s a source of serotonin, folate and enzymes that break down alcohol. (Yep, that means it's a natural hangover remedy, too.)

good mood food tomatoes

Cherry Tomatoes

It’s all about the lycopene, a fat-soluble phytonutrient that can actually stop the buildup of pro-inflammatory compounds linked to depression.

good mood potatoes sweet

Sweet Potatoes

Complex carbs (like these tasty baked fries) increase serotonin levels, which have a calming effect on the body.

good mood food avocado


The combo of B vitamins and potassium increases serotonin levels and lowers blood pressure, both of which keep you calm and collected. Pass the avo toast, please.

good mood food peppers


Foods rich in vitamin C can help stop the production of the stress hormone cortisol. Yellow peppers have the most, followed by red and green. Slice these guys and pack them in a snack baggie for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up. 

allison mccarthy

San Francisco Editor

Allison McCarthy is a writer and editor with 15 years of experience in the industry. She's currently the San Francisco editor at PureWow, where she covers the best of what's...