If you've had a long and tiring day at work, a plate of comforting food can improve your mood. But instead of indulging in junk food that can make you overweight, snack on some mood-boosting and nutrient-rich superfoods instead.
Even fresh food can't function as a miracle cure, but following a diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains can significantly improve your overall health. Eating nutritious food won't only make you feel full, they can also help you feel more energized, and yes, improve your mood.
Healthy and happy snacks
Jaclyn London, a Registered Dietitian and the Nutrition Director at the Good Housekeeping Institute, shared a list of "happy foods" that you can snack on without the guilt if you want to chase the blues away.
Almonds – A handful of almonds contains protein that can boost your energy. A two-tablespoon serving of these nuts also contain healthy fats that can make you feel full so you don't consume foods with empty calories. An ounce (28 g) of almonds has good amounts of copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, vitamin B2 (riboflavin), and vitamin E.
Avocados – Avocados are rich in unsaturated fats that are good for your heart. Additionally, avocados contain fiber and phytochemicals (or biologically active components in plants) that can sate your hunger and prevent different diseases.
Bananas – Bananas contain vitamin B6 that can prevent cognitive decline and reduce the mood-related symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). A single banana can provide you with at least 12 percent of your daily fiber needs for improved digestion.
Chocolate – Studies have shown that dark chocolates are full of antioxidants that can boost your serotonin levels and prevent cognitive decline. The key is eating high-quality dark chocolate, and not the sugary kind. (Related: 10 Tips: Boost Serotonin Levels Naturally & Feel Happier.)
Cottage cheese – Cottage cheese is rich in protein and tryptophan, an essential amino acid that is associated with improved mood and cognition in various research studies.
Oatmeal – Have a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast every morning to keep your heart healthy and strong. Oatmeal also has soluble fiber that can make you feel fuller, longer. Additionally, oatmeal has B-vitamins that can help your body yield energy from all the food you eat throughout the day.
Pistachios – If you're having trouble sleeping, snack on an ounce of pistachios after you eat dinner. These nuts contain magnesium, protein, and vitamin B6 that supports better sleep. Getting enough rest at night ensures that you're fully energized the next morning and in a great mood.
Raspberries – Eat raspberries if you're in the mood for a sweet and nutritious snack. A cup of raspberries has eight grams of fiber, which is a third of what you need daily, and only five grams of sugar.
Roasted chickpeas – Add spices to chickpeas and roast them in the oven to make a crunchy, savory snack that is also rich in the essential nutrients such as folate, iron, and manganese.
Salmon – Salmon contains docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a crucial compound that helps maintain the central nervous system. Salmon is also good for your cardiovascular health and metabolism.
Spinach – Spinach contains nitrate that helps reduce cholesterol and your risk of heart disease.
Sweet potatoes – Sweet potato fries are a healthier alternative to french fries. Roasted sweet potato fries also contain vitamin B6, an essential coenzyme needed for cognitive development. A medium-sized sweet potato will provide you with 15 percent of your daily value of vitamin B6.