Foods That Make You Happy

16 Foods That Are Scientifically Proven To Make You Happier

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16 Foods That Are Scientifically Proven To Make You Happier

Eat until your heart’s literally content.

Dark Chocolate

Choc-o-holics, rejoice! Dark chocolate is a good source of antioxidants, but it’s also been found to reduce the stress hormone cortisol, according to a study in the Journal of Proteome Research.

For a recipe starring dark chocolate, try Dark Chocolate Bark with Roasted Almonds and Seeds.


Salmon is chock full of omega-3 fatty acids, which can improve mood and fight depression, according to a study in the journal of Pharmacological Research. (Bonus: Healthy fats keep your hair shiny. And good hair is enough to induce happiness in our book).



Low levels of zinc have been linked to anxiety, according to a study in Nutrition and Metabolic Insights. To keep yourself cool and calm, get your fill of foods rich in zinc, like oysters.

For a recipe starring oysters, try Grilled Oysters with Tabasco-Leek Butter.



It’s time to turn up the heat. The yellow spice, most known for its use in East Asian cuisine, contains curcumin, which enhances mood and fights depression, according to ethnobotanist Chris Kilham.

For a recipe starring turmeric, try Turmeric Chicken and Rice

Green Tea

A Japanese study found that psychological stress was lower in individuals who drank five or more cups of green tea per day. (But I mean, that’s a lot of green tea).

For a recipe starring green tea, try Frozen Green Tea Souffles.


An apple a day really does keep the doctor away. Eating fruits and vegetables, like apples, produces a calming effect, creates more energy, and increases overall happiness, according to the British Journal of Health Psychology.

For recipes starring apples, try 11 Swoon-Worthy Ways to Eat a Whole Baked Apple For Dessert.


There’s a reason why Popeye ate it. Spinach contains folic acid, which alleviates depression and reduces fatigue, according to the Journal of Physiology.

For recipes starring spinach, try 12 Spinach Salad Recipes.


Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to low-mood depression, according to a study from the University of Melbourne, so start sautéing those mushrooms, because they are surprisingly high in vitamin D.

For a recipe starring mushrooms, try Stuffed Mushrooms.


Vitamin C increases collagen production, reducing your chance of a dry, lined face, according to a study by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. And not worrying about your appearance definitely ups your happy factor.

For a recipe starring oranges, try Vanilla Rice Puddings with Glazed Oranges.


Don’t switch to decaf just yet. Coffee consumption has been linked to lower levels of depression, according to JAMA Internal Medicine.

For recipes starring bananas, try 11 Iced Coffee Hacks



According to a study by the United States Department of Agriculture, low magnesium levels are linked to lower energy. Chomp on magneisum rich foods, like beans, to make sure you don’t fizzle out too quickly each day.

For a recipe starring beans, try Quick Sautéed Beans and Tomatoes.


The David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA found that eating walnuts can improve brain function. Contributing factors include walnuts’ high antioxidant content, vitamins and minerals, and that they contain a large amount of alpha-linolenic acid, a plant based omega-3.

For a recipe starring walnuts, try Honeyed Walnuts.


Eggs are high in choline, which helps boost memory, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. But there’s a catch — choline is found in the yolk, so you might want to rethink those egg white omelettes.

For recipes starring eggs, try 31 of the Most Delicious Things You Can Do With Eggs.









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Senior EditorSienna is a senior editor at Hearst.