Can Foods Actually Boost Your Mood?

Written By John Richards on Monday, July 30, 2012 | 2:05 AM

Though their findings are debated, several studies show that a lack of certain vitamins and minerals may put you at risk for depression. Try these 10 nutrient-rich meals that taste as good as they make you feel.

1. Salmon Salad With Vinaigrette 

salmon-saladStudies show that omega-3 fatty acids may have therapeutic benefits in depressed children. And this savory salmon dish contains 6 grams of this monounsaturated fat.

Ingredients: Green beans, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, extra virgin olive oil, minced shallots, salmon fillets, mixed salad greens, Vidalia onion, eggs

Calories: 271

2. Spanish Shrimp and Farfalle

shrimp-spanishEating a carbohydrate-rich meal may increase levels of serotonin, one of the chemicals in our body responsible for elevating mood. This spicy dish will wow your taste buds and pack in some omega-3s too. 

Ingredients: Farfalle, large shrimp, cumin, olive oil, onion, thyme, cinnamon, orange juice, sherry vinegar, tomatoes, pimiento-stuffed olives 

Calories: 417

3. Flaxseed Falafel Sandwich

sandwiches-falafelThis wrap combines delicious Middle Eastern flavors, vitamin B6, and omega-3 fatty acids to create a delicious, bad mood–blasting meal. 

Ingredients: Flaxseed, chickpeas, garlic, parsley, lemons, cumin, coriander, red pepper, breadcrumbs, eggs, olive oil, pitas, lettuce, fat-free yogurt, tomatoes, cucumber, green onions, cilantro, jalapeƱo pepper 

Calories: 507

4. Deep Dark Chocolate Biscotti

chocolate-biscottiThough chocolate can ease a sweet tooth, research has shown it is more likely to prolong a bad mood than ease it. However, this dessert, which combines wholesome whole-wheat flour, flaxseed, and antioxidant-rich chocolate, is a healthy way to indulge. 

Ingredients: Whole-wheat flour, flaxseed, baking soda, granulated sugar, dark brown sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, dark chocolate chips, unsalted almonds 

Calories: 94

5. Gingery Lentil Soup

ginger-lentil-soupThis hot and spicy dish is full of protein, fiber, and nearly 25% of your daily folate needs. Folate is important for mood, because low levels of this vitamin have been associated with increased rates of depression. 

Ingredients: Olive oil, carrots, onion, ginger, garlic, curry powder, chicken broth, lentils, diced tomatoes 

Calories: 253

6. Grilled Scallops With Lemon Chickpea Salad

grilled-scallopsTangy and fresh, you'll love this simple salad. And you'll get vitamin B6 and omega-3 fatty acids, two important foods that may help regulate your mood. 

Ingredients: Chickpeas, garlic, stalk, celery, flat-leaf parsley, lemons, olive oil, sea scallops, baby spinach 

Calories: 170

7. Triple Bean Salad

bean-saladThis bean salad contains selenium, a micro-mineral that protects against free-radical damage and lowers inflammation. A small study even found that high amounts of selenium helped patients with mild-to-moderate depression. 

Ingredients: Green onions, green bell peppers, red bell peppers, garbanzo beans, kidney beans, black beans, red wine vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice 

Calories: 128

8. Asparagus With Poached Egg and Parmesan

asparagus-eggsStart the day off right with this savory, modified take on eggs Florentine. Eggs are one of the few foods that contain vitamin D, which may better your mood. 

Ingredients: Eggs, white vinegar, asparagus spears, olive oil, garlic, butter, lemon juice, parsley, Parmesan cheese 

Calories: 256

9. Blackberry Banana Slim-Down Smoothie


blackberry-smoothieThis light and refreshing smoothie contains antioxidant-rich berries and banana, plus vitamin B12–rich yogurt. It's a sunny way to start your day. 

Ingredients: Banana, light coconut milk, low-fat yogurt, lemons, honey, blackberries

Calories: 250

10. Yogurt and Spice Grilled Chicken Skewers

yogurt-chickenThis light, protein-rich appetizer combines spicy chicken with tangy sauce. Protein-rich foods keep you alert and energized, which is especially important for those with depression. 

Ingredients: Honey mustard, reduced-fat sour cream, low-fat yogurt, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, cayenne pepper, chicken breasts 

Calories: 210


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