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Natural Awakenings Rhode Island

Mood Food: Foods to Lift Our Spirits

Aug 27, 2020 11:29AM ● By Chrysanthi Kazantzis

What we eat can influence our moods. When aiming for a better mood, improved cognitive function and more energy, the key is the food on our plate. Just like an expensive car, our brain and body functions best when it gets premium fuel. Eating high-quality foods that contain minerals, vitamins and antioxidants nourishes the brain and reduces inflammation which can damage cells. Our brain and mood can be impacted when we eat low-quality foods such as processed or refined foods which can increase inflammation and lead to mood disorders like depression and anxiety.

Here are five foods that can help enhance your moods.

Fatty fish

Omega-3 fatty acids are a group of essential fats that the body cannot produce and must be obtained through diet. Fatty fish like salmon and sardines contain two types of omega 3’s, DHA and EPA, that are linked to lower levels of depression. They also help improve brain development and cognition. Eat one to two servings of wild-caught fish per week.

Fermented foods

These include kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut and kimchi which improve gut health and mood. Fermented foods are rich in probiotics, a healthy bacteria that increases good bacteria in our gut which can increase the production of serotonin in our gut microbiome. Ninety-five percent of serotonin is actually produced in the gastrointestinal tract which guides our emotions. The gut microbiome plays a role in brain health as there are neural pathways that travel directly between the gut and brain impacting moods.


Oats are high in fiber which will help slow digestion of carbohydrates and balance blood sugar which control mood swings and irritability. They can be eaten in overnight oats, oatmeal, granola and muesli. They are also a great source of iron as deficiencies can lead to fatigue and low moods.


Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries are rich in anthocyanins, a type of antioxidants which helps decrease inflammation that is associated with depression and other mood disorders.

Nuts and seeds

These are high in healthy fats, fiber and protein. They are also rich in tryptophan, an amino acid that produces serotonin, the mood boosting brain chemical. They are also high in zinc and selenium which are important for balancing moods.


Chrysanthi Kazantzis “Dr. Kaz” is a naturopathic physician and a clinical nutritionist. She is the president of RIANP and practices at Providence Wholistic Healthcare where she is accepting new patients via telemedicine. Call 401-455-0546 to make an appointment.