Mood can be affected by several factors, such as stress, climate, poor sleep, genetics, mood disorders, and nutritional deficiencies. When you are experiencing a low mood, you tend to reach out for sugary treats or for that ice cream tub kept in the fridge. 

However, these sugary, high-calorie foods do more harm to your body, than good. Instead of opting for sugary and processed foods, it is wiser to eat healthy foods that are known to secrete "happy hormones" in the brain and can help in raising your spirits.

Here is a list of 5 superfoods that can help elevate your mood:

1. Dark Chocolate

Our body releases endorphins in certain instances. These are natural substances that relieve pain and cause a happy mood. The production of endorphins may be induced by pain or stress, but may also be induced by a fit of laughter, intense exercise, a massage, or eating chocolate. 

Eating dark chocolate instigates the release of “feel good” chemicals in our brain, also known as endorphins. Moreover, a range of compounds, associated with mood-lifting chemicals in the brain is found in chocolate like phenylethylamine, tryptophan, and theobromine. These compounds create a “happy feeling” when you eat dark chocolates. 

2. Foods Rich in Vitamin C

The correlation between vitamin C and mood can seem surprising, but people who are deficient in vitamin C, sometimes feel exhausted or depressed. 

Some studies have shown that people with lower than average levels of vitamin C showed mood elevation after consuming sources of vitamin C. But even for people who are not known to have low levels of vitamin C, taking a supplement of the same might help the mood. 

In another study, some participants indicated that vitamin C reduced their levels of anxiety. Vitamin C is often obtained from green leafy vegetables like broccoli and cabbage, or from citrus fruits such as strawberries and oranges.

 3. Grapes

Every once in a while, eating a handful of grapes could boost your mental well-being. Some compounds in grapes have therapeutic properties and can help combat depression.

4. Coffee

Coffee is the most popular beverage in the world, and it makes the world a little happier, too. Caffeine in coffee, prevents the attachment of adenosine (a naturally occurring compound that promotes fatigue) to brain receptors thereby, increasing alertness and focus. 

In addition, it increases the release of neurotransmitters (chemical messengers) that improve mood, such as dopamine and norepinephrine. Caffeine also increases vigilance, arousal, increases energy levels and combats sleepiness in people.

5. Fermented Foods

Intestinal health and mood can be improved by fermented foods including: 

  • Kimchi (a Korean dish which is a combination of vegetables, garlic, ginger, chili peppers, salt, and fish sauce), yogurt.
  • Kefir (fermented drink, traditionally made using cow's milk or goat's milk). 
  • Kombucha (fermented, lightly effervescent, sweetened black or green tea drink). 
  • Sauerkraut (finely cut raw cabbage that has been fermented by various lactic acid bacteria). 

The process of fermentation enables live bacteria to grow in foods that can then turn sugars into alcohol and acids. Probiotics are produced by this process. These live microorganisms promote the growth of healthy intestinal bacteria.

The bottom line is, you can crave calorie-rich, high-sugar foods such as dairy products or cookies when feeling blue to raise your spirits. 

While this might give you a sugar rush, in the long run, it is unlikely to benefit you and could even have harmful effects. Instead, you should strive for healthier foods that have shown to improve not only your mood but your overall health. 

Disclaimer: This article is written by the Practitioner for informational and educational purposes only. The content presented on this page should not be considered as a substitute for medical expertise. Please "DO NOT SELF-MEDICATE" and seek professional help regarding any health conditions or concerns. Practo will not be responsible for any act or omission arising from the interpretation of the content present on this page.