Eat your way to a happier day (and life) with these 8 foods.
Best Food to Get Happy #1: Walnuts
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Arizona State University researchers reported that high intakes of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a form of omega-3 fat found in walnuts, flaxseed and chia seed, can keep you feeling chipper. Eating chia seed doesn’t appeal to you? This post on the incredible body benefits of chia may change your mind.
Best Food to Get Happy #2: Barramundi
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Cast your line for this oddly named fish when you’re feeling down. A study in the journal Nutrition found that women with the highest intakes of EPA and DHA—two omega-3 fats found in fish such as barramundi, trout, salmon and sardines—were less likely to experience symptoms of depression. Omega-3s help promote proper functioning of the neurotransmitters that regulate mood, scientists say.
Best Food to Get Happy #3: Dark Chocolate
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Chocolate contains mood-boosting compounds such as theobromine and phenylethyamine. Further, a recent Swiss study found that eating a little over an ounce of antioxidant-rich dark chocolate (about 6 Hershey Kisses) daily for two weeks reduced stress hormone levels including cortisol in people with high anxiety. Bonus: Dark chocolate is also on this list of the best foods for better sex!
Best Food to Get Happy #4: Greek Yogurt
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Noshing on protein can raise levels of mood-boosting neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine in your brain. With twice as much protein as traditional yogurt, dipping your spoon into deliciously thick Greek yogurt can help take the edge off and make you feel like a million bucks. Check out even more reasons why Greek yogurt is the perfect pre-date snack.
Best Food to Get Happy #5: Quinoa
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An Archives of Internal Medicine study found that people who ate a low-carb diet for 1-year experienced more depression than those who ate a low-fat diet that included more nutrient-rich carbohydrates like quinoa, brown rice and whole wheat pasta. Restricting carbs can reduce the production of "I rock" serotonin in your brain. What else can carbs do for your body? Here's everything you need to know.
Best Food to Get Happy #6: Low-fat Milk
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A 2010 study in the International Archives of Medicine found that you're more likely to be bummed out if you are vitamin D deficient, a common deficiency in American women. Milk, fish and some fortified foods are among the few reliable food sources of vitamin D. Find the right milk for you with this guide to everything from soy and skim to almond and hemp milk.
Best Food to Get Happy #7: Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
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People who ate a Mediterranean-style diet rich in olive oil, nuts, whole grains, fish, legumes, and vegetables were 30 percent less likely to suffer from depression, compared to those who had the lowest Mediterranean diet scores, according to a study the Archives of General Psychiatry. The mix of nutrients in this happy diet (and this great salad recipe) can keep your spirits up, scientists say.
Best Food to Get Happy #8: Collards
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This leafy green is rich in the B vitamin folate. Scientists at the National Institute on Aging found that women with the highest blood folate levels were less likely to suffer depressive symptoms. Folate and other B vitamins produce neurotransmitters that regulate mood, including "feel-good" serotonin.