Dark-green leafy vegetables like spinach, asparagus and Brussels sprouts are all off the charts in folate
, a B vitamin that may help reduce symptoms of depression
. Folate is needed in the brain for the synthesis of mood chemicals like norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine. Boosting the folate levels of depressed patients helped improve their mood
, found researchers from Harvard Medical School.
It's hard to overdose with this upper (for most people, that is—in those with hypothyroidism or iodine deficiencies
, these vegetables may interfere with hormone production
, so talk to your doctor before going broccoli-wild). Researchers in New Zealand found that when people ate more fruits and vegetables, they reported feeling calmer, happier and more energetic
than usual (and the study authors, publishing in British Journal of Health Psychology
, were able to determine that eating produce came before the happy moods, not the other way around). They recommend aiming for seven to eight combined servings of fruits and vegetables every day.