Good Mood Foods

by Jennifer Patzkowsky, MS, RD/LDN

Has your mood taken a nosedive? Check out these tips to improve your mood with some simple diet tips. Feel free to share these tips with others, especially that person who always seems to be in a bad mood.

Fish, particularly fish high in omega 3 fatty acids, manipulate brain chemicals in ways that boost mood. Also studies reveal that there is a low incidence of depression in countries that consume a lot of fish. Good sources of omega 3s include wild salmon, sardines, herring, anchovies, and mackerel.

Don't like fish? Other sources of omega 3s include walnuts and flaxseed.

Milk contains a potent combination of whey protein and carbohydrate. Together these nutrients increase serotonin levels and reduce feelings of anxiety, anger, and frustration, so you have better coping skills against stress. Need to wind down at night? Have a glass of milk before bed or even make a cup of no sugar added hot cocoa with milk.

Eggs, more specifically egg yolks are the only major source of phospholipids, which are required to create a healthy cell membrane throughout the entire body, especially in the brain. Eggs also contain choline, an essential nutrient that is the basis of all neurotransmission in the brain. To stay within American Heart Association's guidelines of three hundred milligrams of cholesterol a day, only one egg yolk per day is recommended.

B vitamins, particularly folic acid, has a profound effect on your mood. Research shows that a deficiency of folic acid can cause depressive symptoms including fatigue, poor concentration, or moodiness. Folic acid is found in dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, asparagus, and broccoli. Fruits such as bananas, strawberries and oranges are also good sources.

Finally, the most important tip to remember, GET ENOUGH SLEEP. When your brain is craving rest, you easily fall into the trap of looking for the foods that you think are going to make you feel better which usually adds more caffeine, sugar, and fat to your diet. But that's a misinterpretation of what you really need, which is rest.

Try this good mood recipe.

Spinach frittata
Dietitian's tip: Frittata is an Italian omelet with cheese, meat or vegetables mixed into the eggs rather than folded inside the eggs. This omelet makes for a special breakfast or an easy supper.


  1. Preheat the broiler.
  2. Position the rack 4 inches from the heat source.
  3. In a large, nonstick frying pan, heat 1/2 teaspoon of the olive oil over medium heat.
  4. Add the garlic and saute until softened, about 1 minute.
  5. Stir in the spinach and cook until it wilts, 1 to 2 minutes.
  6. Transfer to a bowl. Set the frying pan aside.
  7. In a bowl, whisk together the whole eggs and egg whites. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and the pepper. Set aside.
  8. Return the frying pan to medium heat and heat the remaining 1/2 teaspoon olive oil.
  9. Add the onion and saute until soft and translucent, about 4 minutes.
  10. Stir in the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, the bell pepper and the potatoes and cook until the potatoes begin to brown but are still tender-crisp, 4 to 5 minutes.
  11. Spread the potatoes in an even layer in the pan. Spread the spinach evenly over the potatoes. Sprinkle with the basil.
  12. Pour in the beaten eggs and sprinkle evenly with the cheese. Cook until slightly set, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  13. Carefully place the pan under the broiler and broil until the frittata is brown and puffy and completely set, about 3 minutes.
  14. Gently slide onto a warmed serving platter and cut into wedges. Serve immediately.
Nutritional Analysis (per serving): 176 calories, 6 g total fat, 2 g saturated fat, 16 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, g 12 g protein.

Source:The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook.

Jennifer Patzkowsky, MS, RD/LDN