* Oatmeal. This is a great source of soluble fiber which keeps blood sugars stable by slowing down the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream. This reduces irritability and hunger. Whole grains also increase the production of the chemical in our bodies called serotonin which also elevates mood.
* Nuts. Don’t toss that bowl of walnuts leftover quite yet because both walnuts and soy nuts are thick with Omega 3s. These fatty acids might increase the volume of gray matter in the parts of the brain responsible for regulating emotions. Get your Omega 3s also from other foods such as fish like salmon, tuna and oils.
* Dark chocolate. Yay! And yum. This chocolate contains chemicals that produce the serotonin to relax, lower your anxiety and improve your mood. It doesn’t mean you and a dark Hersey bar should get cozy nightly—think a square or two, rather than wolfing down an entire bar.
* Oranges and strawberries. Tis the season to eat citrus because oranges and its fruit stand neighbor, strawberries, are both rich with folate. Folate may help to improve mood by preventing an excess of the amino acid homocysteine from forming in the body. This is important because homocysteine prevents blood and other nutrients from reaching the brain, and interferes with the production of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine—all regulators of mood, sleep, and appetite. Folate can also be found in foods such as leafy greens, peas, potatoes, whole-wheat bread and egg yolks.
* Milk. This cookie sidekick contains calcium and tryptophan. Calcium reduces levels of stress and anxiety and tryptophan produces serotonin to elevate mood.