Fight Holiday Season Depression With These 10 Mood-Lifting Foods Slideshow

Black-Eyed Peas

One cup of cooked black-eyed peas contains 89 percent of your daily value of vitamin B-9 (folic acid). Folic acid is crucial nutrient for normal brain functioning and emotional health, but alcoholism, celiac disease, or inflammatory bowel disease can all negatively affect its absorption. To make sure you're getting enough of this important vitamin, try some of these simple black-eyed pea recipes

Brazil Nuts

Brazil nuts have the highest concentration of the trace mineral selenium; eating just 4 grams will provide more than 100 percent of the recommended daily intake. Several studies and literature reviews provide evidence that supplementing a diet with extra selenium can help improve mood, and that people who lack this essential nutrient are more likely to be depressed. 


The University of Maryland Medical Center claims that 90 percent of Americans don't get enough chromium in their daily diet. A half cup of broccoli provides 11 micrograms of chromium,  almost 50 percent of the recommended daily intake. This trace mineral works directly with mood regulators in the brain, and it aids in managing levels of mood-boosting neurons like serotonin, norepinephrine, and melatonin. 


Turkey is famous (or infamous) for its supposed, sleep-inducing tryptophan content, but chicken actually contains just as much per ounce. Tryptophan is an amino acid that is essential in the manufacturing of serotonin, also known as the happiness hormone. One study tracked the behavior of adults who self-described as "quarrelsome"; after supplementing their diets with tryptophan, they reported being significantly more agreeable.  

Kidney Beans

A steaming pot of chili can help you alleviate that winter depression, especially when you make it with kidney beans. What sets kidney beans apart from other legumes is their folate content, with one cup of cooked beans providing 58 percent of the daily recommended value. Studies dating back to the 1960s show that patients with depression often exhibit a folate deficiency


A heaping bowl of mussels, steamed in an aromatic sauce of white wine and garlic, is a perfect way to tantalize your taste buds while relieving some of that seasonal depression. Besides transporting you to memories of beach-side summer cookouts, mussels contain a high amount of vitamin B-12, which has been found to positively affect mood and other brain functions. 

Portabello Mushrooms

The unilluminated mornings of winter take a toll on our tans, but they also affect our natural intake of vitamin D. Fortunately, sunlight is not the only source of vitamin D; it can also be consumed inside at the dinner table. Portabella mushroom farmers expose their crops to additional lighting, which boosts the vitamin D content by almost 3,000 percent. Increasing vitamin D intake has been used as an easy and cost-effective way to lessen the effects of depression. 


Incorporating salmon, with its omega-3 fatty acids, into your breakfast routine can help brighten up those gloomy winter mornings. Studies show that a lack of omega-3 fatty acids can contribute to mood disorders and increased feelings of depression. Other sources of omega-3 fatty acids that can easily be added to breakfasts include flaxseed and walnuts. 

Sunflower Seeds

Even the name sounds cheery. Within sunflower seeds are two important mood regulating nutrients: magnesium and folate. A deficiency in magnesium can result in feelings of fatigue and nervousness, while not enough folate leads to irritability, depression, and insomnia. A quarter cup of sunflower seeds provides the body with 28 percent of the daily recommended intake of magnesium and 20 percent of the recommended amount of folate. Use sunflower seeds in trail mix, salads, or in a tasty sunflower seed brittle

Swiss Chard

Swiss chard contains magnesium, an essential mineral for neurological health that is most often found in seafood and organic meat. Magnesium is not prolific in the American diet because of our overreliance on refined carbohydrates that have their minerals stripped away. A deficiency in this mineral, however, can lead to a number of different mental health-related symptoms such as anxiety, irritability, confusion, and sleeplessness.