Eat Your Way to Happiness! 4 Ways a Change of Diet Can Lead to a Change of Mood

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By MacKenzie Nelson-Greene

Are you feeling irritable?  Are you getting down in the dumps for no reason at all?  Do you find yourself snapping at your co-worker for saying “happy Monday!”?

A few minor changes to your diet may be able to help you with those moments of crabbiness or sadness.  I know it seems foolish, but what we put in our bodies does affect our mental health!

It is time to rely less on dietary supplements, and focus more on the food we put in our bodies.

Check out these four ways a change of diet can turn your frown upside down.


#1) D is for Delightful

I never thought a lack of sun exposure could really make people depressed… until I fought through a Minnesota winter.  The sun is our number one source of Vitamin D, and with the winter months coming, many of us are headed for cloudy days and weak rays.

If you find that Gloominous Doom fills the room, grab some quick snacks that are high in Vitamin D.  Cheese and other dairy products fortified with Vitamin D are a great way to fulfill the Vitamin D need.

#2) Sugar High Begets Sugar Low

Whenever we’re feeling especially grouchy or feeling as though we are lagging, we instinctively reach for sweet treats.  This is because sugar and chocolate seem to give us a rush.

Many times we even reach for those sugar-packed energy drinks, because they are stuffed with caffeine.  However, in most instances, the sugar crash is worse than the lag you may have felt before our pick-me-ups.  According to, “While the initial rush of sugar can indeed perk you up, it ultimately leads to that inevitable crash and the crankiness that comes with it.”

This crankiness has a terrible effect on our days.  If you need something sweet, avoid the excessive sugars, and reach for a more natural sweet snack.

I tend to each trail mix when I’m really craving the sweets.  I make my own trail mix, which includes: dates (these are high in protein and potassium), cashews (a great source of magnesium and protein), unsalted sunflower seeds (which are absolutely packed with vitamins and minerals), and a small amount of dark chocolate covered almonds.  The almonds help me appease my chocolate cravings while they provide me with antioxidants essential for brain health.

#3) OMG! Behold! The Power of Omega-3

Depression is a frightening thing, because it can come on suddenly.  It is generally caused by chemical imbalances in the brain.  Did you know that Omega-3s can help you fight depression?

According to, our brains love Omega-3s.  The article goes on to say, “Growing evidence suggests that consuming inadequate amounts of omega-3 fatty acids is associated with depression and poor moods.”

Incorporate more Omega-3s into your life by adding salmon to your weekly menu.  Salmon is also high in Vitamin B-6 and Vitamin B-12, so it is the ideal good mood food.

If fish isn’t your thing flax seeds are a great option to incorporate more Omega-3s.  I buy ground flax seeds and put them into my protein shakes.  This is a great way to get all of your nutrients without trying to find flax seed recipes.

#4) Get All Popeye About Life

He’s strong to the finish, because he eats his spinach.  This is because spinach is very high in iron. Iron is an essential for balancing the good hormones in our bodies. According to Jessica Girdwain of, “Iron helps produce neurotransmitters like serotonin and thyroid hormones essential in brain function.”

For lunch, try a refreshing salad of baby spinach, sliced strawberries, and slivered almonds. I top mine off with a nice raspberry vinaigrette.

Another great trick is to replace that iceberg lettuce with spinach on sandwiches or in wraps.  Spinach has more flavor than lettuce, and it has a more hearty texture.

What are some of your good mood food necessities?  Do you absolutely require a certain food to get you through the day?  Share your recipes and ideas in the comments below.


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