Most people are happy while they’re eating, but how you feel when you’re done can be a different story. While what you ate may have been delicious, it may not have been particularly healthy, which can then lead to feelings of guilt.
That said, there are many foods that are actually healthy and can improve your mood almost instantly. Here is a look at ten such foods.
Most potatoes are rather bland shades of brown, yellow or red, but blue potatoes are exactly how they sound. In fact, some are so vibrant they’re almost a shade of purple.
The color doesn’t really affect the flavor of blue potatoes. They taste similar to other types of potatoes, and you can prepare them similarly. But there are clear advantages when it comes to health and happiness, including a high level of antioxidants. Blue potatoes are known to boost short-term memory and reduce inflammation, which can both help happiness.
You probably won’t be able to find blue potatoes at the local grocery store, but you may be able to find them at a farmer’s market or even try growing them yourself.
The most obvious reason why dark chocolate can help improve your mood is that it’s simply delicious. But there is also a bit of science behind how dark chocolate improves happiness.
Dark chocolate contains flavonoids some scientists believe can improve cardiovascular health. This can result in better blood flow to the brain, which can lead to a boost in energy and concentration.
Keep in mind that this applies to pure dark chocolate, meaning a candy bar or a bag of M&Ms won’t have the same effect.
Your mood can be influenced by being either pleasantly surprised or surprisingly disappointed by the taste of food, according to a study from a team of European researchers. The team put this to a further test and found vanilla yogurt specifically has positive mood effects.
Yogurt is already a good healthy snack option that contains more calcium than milk. Make it a Greek version, and you’ll also get a good amount of protein, which is something else to be happy about.
Eggs are a breakfast staple for many, but their health benefits are often overlooked. In fact, eggs are still recovering from a bit from a reputation hit because they contain fat and cholesterol.
That may be true, but, more importantly, eggs are high in protein and low in calories, a key element to weight loss. When it comes to mood, eggs also contain mood-boosting B vitamins, as well as an amino acid that has been connected to a positive influence over depression and bipolar disorder.
Almonds are among the tastiest nuts out there, and they have many positive health properties as well. Almonds can help lower blood pressure and help blood move through your arteries more easily.
There is also evidence that almonds, along with walnuts and hazelnuts, can boost serotonin, which is known to improve mood and heart health. Give it a try for yourself. Next time you’re feeling lethargic, try a handful of almonds and you’re sure to receive a noticeable energy boost.
Low levels of zinc are associated with anxiety, which means oysters must always be in a good mood — they’re known as one of the world’s best sources of zinc. About three ounces, or eight medium-sized oysters, contains roughly 50 mg of zinc.
And that should be plenty. In a study of 44 people with depression, those who were given a 25 mg dose of zinc along with an antidepressant had better moods than those who only used the antidepressant.
Just knowing the amount of health benefits kale has should be enough to improve your happiness. But the green also contains components known to specifically benefit your mood. One of these components is carotenoids, which one study has connected to a person’s overall sense of optimism.
Kale also contains omega-3 fats, known to lower the risk of depression and diabetes, among other ailments.
It turns out there are more benefits to drinking coffee than simply getting that daily jolt of caffeine to help you get through your morning. In fact, the hot drink has many health benefits, including the ability to combat depression and make you feel generally happier.
Coffee drinkers also have a lower risk of certain types of cancer. And it may lower the risk of other diseases such as Alzheimer’s, dementia and Parkinson’s.
As always, moderation is key. Too much coffee — specifically the caffeine in coffee — can lead to increased irritability and anxiety.
Another green vegetable that has multiple health benefits, asparagus is packed with the B vitamin folate, which can help improve your mood and make you less irritable. In fact, research has linked low levels of folate and B12 to those who suffer from depression.
There is another reason why asparagus may make you happy. It’s one of a number of foods on this list also known as a natural aphrodisiac.
Honey is a good natural alternative to sugar that can prevent depression thanks to compounds including quercetin and kaempferol. It has many other benefits that can help impact your mood as well, including preventing cancer and heart disease, reducing ulcers and boosting athletic performance.
No one food is an instant fix, of course. But working these 10 into your diet on a regular basis will help you build a sound foundation for improving your level of happiness.