Foods That Lift Your Mood
Olive oil, salad tomatoes
A Mediterranean Diet
Debbie Mandel, author of Addicted to Stress: A Woman's 7-Step Program to Reclaim Joy and Spontaneity in Life, says there are certain foods you can eat that will help alleviate stress. One of the easiest ways to reduce stress and be mentally and physically healthy is to follow a low-fat, Mediterranean diet, she says. Staples of the diet include:
  • A lot of fruits, vegetables and other plant-based foods
  • Little red meat
  • Fish several times a week
  • Healthy fats such as olive oil
  • Wine in moderation
  • Low-fat dairy products, primarily yogurt and cheese
Whole grains in four containers
Complex Carbohydrates
When you start to feel low, depleted or stressed, Debbie says you shouldn't turn to a pint of ice cream. Instead, indulge in some complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains, for an immediate boost. "The complex carbs really generate serotonin [a neurotransmitter that affects chemical balance] for women," Debbie says. Some of her top picks include:
  • Oatmeal
  • Whole wheat toast
  • Brown rice
  • Brown pasta
Cheese and egg sandwich
Lean Protein
Debbie says the order in which you eat your food affects your mood. To get the most stress relief, she says you should first have some complex carbohydrates, then, about 20 minutes later, have some lean protein. Healthy lean proteins include:
  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Low-fat cheese
Cooked salmon
Known anti-inflammatories, omega-3s also have a positive impact on brain health. Debbie suggests eating these sources of omega-3s several times a week:
  • Salmon
  • Halibut
  • Mackerel
  • Trout
  • Flaxseed oil
  • Walnuts
Pieces of dark chocolate
Dark Chocolate
A favorite of many women, Debbie says a little dark chocolate is the perfect treat when you are feeling stressed. "It really makes you more alert and releases stress," Debbie says.

More stress-reducing foods