Written by Melanie Kozlan, Four Green Steps.com

Finding yourself inexplicably gloomy or a little depressed from the miserable weather? Feeling down might be an indicator that you’re missing out on essential mood-boosting nutrients. Here’s a list of healthy foods proven to make you feel instantly happier:

Tryptophan-Rich Foods

Tryptophan is one of the ten essential amino acids and helps our brains produce serotonin, which makes us feel relaxed and in control. Food that has tryptophan can help fight depression, insomnia and anxiety. Foods containing tryptophan include:

  • Milk (Vegan? Drink hemp milk- hemp seeds contain all ten essential amino acids!)
  • Cashews
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Bananas
  • Avocados

*For the full effect of tryptophan it is best to eat these items uncooked.

Oranges - a mood-boosting food

Photo credit D Sharon Pruitt

Fruits rich in Antioxidants & Vitamin C

Fruit like blueberries and oranges are known to contain a high amount of antioxidants and vitamin C, both are helpful for reducing feelings of stress.

Vegetables Rich in Antioxidants & Folic Acid

Spinach, broccoli and kale are full of folic acid which help produce serotonin (just like tryptophan does).


Contains anadamine, a chemical naturally found in the brain that is know to brighten our mood and make us feel happier. Enjoy in moderation as the sugar in chocolate might contribute to other issues.


Nuts are rich in minerals, protein and omega-3 fats. Omega-3 is not only good for both your heart and brain, large doses of it have been used to treat clinical depression. Nuts also contain vitamin E, an antioxidant that combats stress. Brazilian nuts such as cashews, almonds and pistachios have been proven to lower blood pressure and calm our nervous system.


Melanie Kozlan is the Senior Content Director of Four Green Steps
– your one-stop destination for all things green! Four Green Steps is home to the World’s largest Green marketplace, offering an eco-friendly alternative to virtually everything as well as a free ecological curriculum used by students from all around the globe.



  1. Aurametrix says:

    May 31st, 2011 at 5:58 pm (#)

    Tryptophan is the precursor molecule of happiness, indeed, but there may be side effects.
    This blog discusses altered tryptophan metabolism and its consequences: http://dysbiosis.blogspot.com/2011/05/tryptophan-in-food-will-it-make-you.html

  2. François Villeneuve says:

    June 8th, 2011 at 9:28 pm (#)

    Awesome, blueberries and pumpkin seed butter will make me happier. Best news today.

    To Aurametrix, I think your article talks more about high doses reached with 5-HTP supplements, rather than focusing on its absorption from food rich in it. It’s a good warning to heed though.

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