Five Foods That Make You Happy and Others That Make You Sad

Spinach not only makes you stronger, but it makes you happier.
Spinach not only makes you stronger, but it makes you happier.

We have all heard the saying "You are what you eat." This common phrase implies that the types of foods you consume directly correlate with your outer appearance. But your food affects your body in more ways than one.

Researchers have conducted experiments and studies to discover how foods make an impact on a person's mood. There are several main components in foods that can have a large effect on your feelings throughout the day. Some may surprise you. Here are five foods that make you happy and five foods that make you sad.

Let's start with the good news first.

5. Spinach

Not only does this leafy green make you strong like Popeye, but two components play a huge role in boosting your mood to keep you from becoming depressed: folic acid and magnesium. Consume at least two cups of spinach to satisfy your daily folic acid needs and you'll stay focused and concentrated all day long with a good mood. You can easily add spinach to a salad, sauté for a simple side at dinner or blend into a smoothie if a vegetable smoothie is your thing.

Take a couple tablespoons of walnuts as a snack to work.
Take a couple tablespoons of walnuts as a snack to work.

4. Walnuts

My mom always gave me a handful of walnuts before every test day when I was in grade school, and now I know why. Walnuts have omega-3 fatty acids that can improve your motor and behavioral skills and make you feel smarter and more alert, and can battle against depression to improve your mood. Of course, just like every other nut, walnuts are high in fat and calories, so you need to consume them in moderate amounts if you don't want to take in more calories than you need throughout the day. Simply add a tablespoon or two to your oatmeal in the morning, have as a snack at the office for a boost in energy when that 3 o'clock lull comes around or use as a crust on a piece of fish for dinner.

3. Seafood

Seafood is filled with selenium, which fights against anxiety and depression and helps significantly with being clearheaded, confident and composed. Not only is seafood a lean protein to consume if you're trying to eat healthier, but it helps keep you levelheaded. Add some more fish, shrimp and other shellfish to your diet to fight against being anxious or depressed.

Sip on some green tea to feel calm during stressful times.
Sip on some green tea to feel calm during stressful times.

2. Green Tea

While caffeine may increase your stress level, green tea has theanine, an ingredient that keeps you calm, cool and collected. Rather than indulging in a sugary caffeinated beverage, sit down with a cup of warm green tea to keep you relaxed. The comfort of a warm cup of tea can calm your nerves pretty quickly.

1. Turkey

Although turkey gets a bad rep for making you sleepy because of the tryptophan, studies have shown that tryptophan increases the production of serotonin, which helps calm your brain and fight against depression as well as other disorders associated with your mood. The added bonus of protein also keeps you alert and energetic. Of course, you don't want to calm yourself down to the point you want to take a nap, but a turkey sandwich at lunchtime isn't a bad choice.

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