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6 Foods that Boost Happiness and Taste Great

Shake Shack burgers and cupcakes may be on your personal list of in-the-moment mood-boosting foods. We get it.

But it’s also possible to find (longer-lasting!) happiness via healthy foods. (And the aforementioned will likely bum you out over the long-term, thanks to inflammation and gut-brain communication.)

These foods are all great for your body overall and contain nutrients with research-tested mood benefits, like compounds shown to reduce the risk of depression and vitamins that stimulate neurotransmitter production.

Of course, when you’re not sitting down to eat, you’ve got to adopt happiness-promoting habits like endorphin-stimulating exercise and consistently getting enough sleep.

But your plate is a great place to start when it comes to working on that smile. Bonus: Eat these foods in the company of a friend who makes you LOL non-stop.

6 Mood-Boosting Foods for Happiness

  • 1. Walnuts

    While the research isn’t definitive, several studies have shown omega-3s can help relieve symptoms of depression, and walnuts are a great source of the healthy fats.

    RELATED: How to Incorporate Omega-3s Into Every Meal

  • 2. Lentils

    Lentils are rich in folate, which helps maintain normal levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is seriously linked to mood.

  • 3. Mango

    Mangoes contain more vitamin C than oranges, and that’s not just good for your immune system (although who’s happy when they’re sick?!). Vitamin C may also fight depression by helping the body recover faster from stress.

  • 4. Oysters

    Mmm…summer on the half shell. These delicious, nutritious bivalves are one of nature’s richest sources of zinc, and some research has shown the mineral may help your body manage stress and improve mood among people suffering from depression.

  • 5. Yogurt

    Guys, you’ve heard about the gut-brain connection, right? Maintaining a thriving microbiome is key to happiness. Recent studies have shown mice given probiotics were able to handle stressors while remaining calm, and probiotics reversed symptoms of depression in mice. Yogurt (ideally organic!) is a great source of probiotics (and of course a morning protein-boost).

    RELATED: The Gut-Brain Connection and How It Impacts Your Health

  • 6. Shiitake Mushrooms

    Shiitakes are linked to reducing inflammation, a condition linked to depression. They also contain selenium and magnesium, two minerals closely tied to mood.

    Start adding these foods to your diet alongside stress-fighting foods, and you’ll be calm and content 24-7.

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