foods that boost mood

In collaboration with Smith Publicity

Who doesn’t feel a little guilty about the overindulgence that seems unavoidable over the holiday season? A nibble here, an extra spoonful there… it all adds up. But according to food expert and author Christine DeLozier, many of those treats do have essential nutrients that boost our mental health.


foods that boost moodBring on the candy canes! Peppermint to help with memory and to relieve stress, making it the perfect sweet treat to cope with the super-busy whirlwind nature of the holiday season.


foods that boost moodApples are abundant in an antioxidant called flavonoids, which improves mood within just two hours of eating them! In one study, flavonoids improved cognitive function and the effects lasted six hours post-consumption.

Apples are loaded with other feel-good substances too, such as B vitamins. Who doesn’t love a fresh-baked apple pie? Or, for a lower-fat option, make some homemade applesauce with mood-boosting cinnamon.


foods that boost moodDon’t skip the cranberry sauce with dinner. Cranberries are loaded with vitamin C and flavonoids. As humans, we are unable to produce our own vitamin C, which is a major player in dopamine metabolism in the body. People with depression, mood and psychiatric disorders are quite often deficient in vitamin C.

Vitamin C rapidly improves mood, in fact, the higher our vitamin C levels are, the less confusion, anger and depression we have. Boil fresh cranberries with honey, grated nutmeg and cinnamon. Or you can add some mandarin orange slices to increase the mood-boosting ability.


Yams are loaded with vitamins and minerals including potassium, which helps maintain optimal cognitive function. Low potassium intake is associate with greater risk of mood disturbances, depression and tension. Potassium is considered a mental-health food because of its powerful effect on mood. As a major player in dopamine metabolism, potassium rapidly improves your mood.

A whopping 40% of the minerals of yams are in the skin! Try twice-baked yams, where you scoop out the flesh, mix it with a wee bit of maple syrup and aromatic spices such as cardamom and cloves. Top with toasted pecans for a delicious side dish.

Pumpkin/Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin is rich in mood-boosting minerals, such as potassium, as well as vitamin A, and B vitamins. Pumpkin seeds contain abundant tryptophan, which is a precursor of serotonin, a mood-boosting chemical produced by our bodies.

Tryptophan improved the mood of participants over the course of a four-day, high-tryptophan diet. Subjects experienced less anxiety and depressive symptoms. 6 Pumpkin seeds are also a good source of zinc, which can give an immediate boost to mood, having an antidepressant effect.

Everyone loves pumpkin pie, but baked pumpkin with a bit of salt and pepper is also delicious! Be sure to save the pumpkin seeds for roasting!

Mashed Potatoes

foods that boost moodThis holiday season, consider why mashed potatoes are a healthy food: Potatoes are loaded with vitamins and minerals including potassium, which helps maintain optimal cognitive function, and positive mood.

Those who maintain a high potassium, low sodium diet are less anxious, depressed, confused and angry, and have more energy and vigor. Potatoes are also a great source of vitamin C.

About Christine DeLozier:

A food expert and acupuncturist, she holds the following degrees.

  • MS in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine from the Finger Lakes School of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
  • MS (Counseling) Margaret Warner Graduate School of Education and Human Development at the University of Rochester
  • A. (Psychology) University of Rochester

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