7 Quick, Easy Foods That Boost Your Mood

You know the drill. You wake up in the morning, immediately regretting how late you stayed up the night before and wishing you could crawl back into bed, or find some way to boost your mood. But you can’t. So you sit there, staring down the long barrel of yet another day, and weigh your options. 

Coffee? Nah. While it may boost your mood for a couple of hours, you always crash after lunch, either having to hop yourself up on more (and risk not being able to fall asleep), or just work your way through the slump until you hit your second wind.

Okay then, how about an energy drink?

Oh yeah, those kill people.

So, you suck it up do your normal routine — basically, nothing. Whatever you can find on your way out the door. If only there were a few natural foods that were also quick and easy that you knew would help to boost your mood… 

Oh wait! Here they are:

1) Dark Chocolate

Who says eating healthy has to be boring? I was always told to listen to my body. And you know what my body screams at me when I eat dark chocolate? “YES!”

As it turns out, there’s a scientific reason why we get so happy when we partake of this dark goodness. Dark chocolate contains a chemical called serotonin, which naturally makes you feel great. It’s also the reason people get high from certain drugs, but don’t worry, there’s no negative side effects to dark chocolate, except the slight chance of chocoholism.

Dark Chocolate also boosts the amount of endorphins in your brain, which are basically naturally occurring, mild opiates. And best of all, dark chocolate contains pretty much zero sugar so there’s no chance of that groggy come down. Keep in mind though, the recommended daily dose of dark chocolate is only one ounce, so don’t overdo it!

2) Saffron

Saffron is a rare spice that is highly renowned for it’s near magical effects on mood. Believe it or not, it is the most expensive spice on earth! Yet this is not without reason. It is both a mood elevator (serotonin, again) and anxiety suppressant, being used to help people with sleeping disorders due to its highly calming effects.

Iran, the country that produces 90% of the world’s Saffron supply, has conducted some really cool studies on the effects of Saffron on people’s moods, yet it still remains somewhat of a mystery and a lot more research needs to be done before we fully understand this wonderful spice. It isn’t recommended to consume this herb on its own, but with a little preparation it can form the basis of a number of wonderful treats and teas that you can grab on the go.

3) Mushrooms

Nope, not those kinds of mushrooms. (While they definitely alter your mood, I’m not exactly sure if they elevate it.) Regular mushrooms, however, can definitely help boost your mood, as they contain a huge amount of vitamin D. Vitamin D is what we absorb when we’re exposed to sunlight, and it’s hugely important for maintaining your happiness.

If you’re like me and you live in a city where it rains most of the year, it’s often pretty hard to get this vital ingredient into your system. That’s where mushrooms come in. You see, mushrooms are actually able to store large amounts of vitamin D in their cells on the rare occasion they do get exposed to sunlight, and when we eat mushrooms we consume that Vitamin D.

The mushroom that has some of the highest vitamin D content is a mushroom from Japan called the Maitake mushroom. And while this isn’t exactly a quick food per se, it’s simple enough to include mushrooms in any meals you may be preparing beforehand, or including them in your selection at a restaurant.

4) Almonds

This is an easy one. Almonds are so tasty and so quick that adding them to your diet should be a breeze. And after eating a handful of them, you’ll definitely be feeling better. This is because Almonds provide a massive boost of that amazing chemical, once again– serotonin.

But that’s not all, Almonds also provide a huge lift to your energy levels– just one cup of almonds contains an astounding 822 calories. That’s like half a normal person’s recommended dose for the whole day. (But it’s nut fat, so don’t worry about it.) Regardless, these mini, on-the-go mood boosters are a must-have for people with little to no time. 

5) Goji Berries

Goji berries are dismissed by many as a health craze money-grab, as people go nuts for them and are often willing to pay exorbitant prices for a small amount. Turns out, however, that they may have very good reason to behave this way. Goji berries are so good for you they can be likened to something out of a video game, where your avatar, suffering from a lagging power bar, grabs one and is instantly restored to full health.

Goji berries have some of the largest anti-oxidant content in all plants, making them perfect for raising people’s moods. Not only do they boost your mood, but they also give you tons of energy. Another interesting side note is that it increases blood flow, which has the awesome side effect of raising your sex drive.

6) Guarana

Deep in the Amazon jungle, there is a native tribe called the Guarani, and it was they who first discovered the amazing mental effects of the Guarana plant. Specifically, they prepare a drink from the seeds which is used to treat a wide variety of illnesses. This is one of those natural ingredients that you always see on the label of energy drinks and weight-loss supplements, but you can get the same effects without the rest of the garbage they mix with it, simply by taking pure Guarana.

This super food can enhance athletic performance, wake you up, and apparently even stimulate your creativity. Have you been up all night studying for a test? No problem. Down a single dose of Guarana, and your cognition and energy levels will go through the roof. This is because of its caffeine content, and although it’s similar to coffee in this respect, it’s a lot healthier.

7) Pumpkin seeds

While pumpkin seeds may not appear, on the surface, to be nearly as exotic and sexy as Goji berries or Guarana, they’re apparently one of the best things to break you out of a miserable mood. According to a recent study conducted in spain, they actually rank at the very top of the list. Not only that, they’re also good for bladder function, bone density, heart disease and anxiety relief. So, get your hands into the brains of a pumpkin and get pulling– it’s recommended to get them straight from the source!

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Elliot Figueira emigrated to Canada from South London at the age of 6. The unparalleled connection to the outdoors, clean air and water, and a friendly population are qualities of Vancouver that have grown immensely on Elliot over the years. Stemming from his deep lifelong appreciation for literature and performing arts, blogging has become not only a creative outlet for Elliot but also a professional path.