Although it is hard to resist the urge to call in take-out every night, below is a list of 10 foods that are scientifically proven to potentially help boost your mood! BONUS: they are super easy to find in your local grocery store.

Kathryn Stouffer

Tryptophan is an amino acid that is converted to serotonin in your brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter and a hormone that is responsible for regulating your mood, sleep, helps your body with digestion, and also regulates your happiness. Most of these items are good sources of this happy-helpful amino acid! 

Ann arbor, lunch, brunch, egg, avocado, avocado toast
Gabi Mechaber

1. Eggs

The protein in these bright breakfast bites are successful in increasing the levels of tryptophan in your blood plasma (found in this study). Eggs also can reduce mental fatigue, and are high in B12. B12 is correlated to increasing mood and brain function.

#foodporn, #photography, #shreddedcheese, #pizza, #food, #cheese, #cooking
Yasmeen Aboulhawa

2. Cheese 

From mac and cheese, to grilled cheese, to the latest viral feta cheese pasta recipe, incorporating cheese into meals is super easy and also a great source of tryptophan and calcium.

chicken, chicken wing, Bowl
Casey Tang

3. Poultry 

Examples of poultry like chicken and turkey, have high levels of protein and tryptophan. Turkey contains especially high amounts of that special amino acid!  

Torey Walsh

4. Nuts and Seeds 

Not only are nuts and seeds amazing sources of tryptophan, fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants, they are also an easy snack on the go or in between study sessions. Studies show that eating a handful of nuts a day may lower your risk for cancer, heart disease, and respiratory problems.

salmon, Cooking, Healthy
Amy Dong

5. Salmon 

In addition to tryptophan, this colorful fish is full of omega-3 fatty acids, which according to Harvard, might improve depression. It can make many positive attributes to your mind and body, as it also has vitamin D, which strengthens your bones, teeth, and builds muscle.  

dairy product, cheese, milk, candy, tofu
Laura Palladino

6. Tofu

Tofu and other soy products are great sources of tryptophan and calcium, especially for vegetarians and vegans. You can substitute tofu for almost any protein! 

kale, spinach
Susie Choi

7. Spinach 

In addition to being a good source of tryptophan, spinach also contains iron! This leafy green is an easy and delicious add-in to your favorite salad or smoothie.

cocoa, chocolate chips, chips, chocolate
Caroline Ingalls

8. Cacao 

Did you know that chocolate may make you happier in more ways than one? Dark chocolate is especially rich in magnesium which plays a critical role in brain function and mood. Chocolate lovers rejoice!

tea, green tea

9. Green tea 

This warm tea not only is comforting in taste and temperature, but its inner workings truly calm you down. With the L-theanine amino acid it contains, green tea can lower your levels of anxiety.

coffee, cappuccino, espresso, milk, cream, mocha, tea, chocolate
Jocelyn Hsu

10. Coffee

For those of us who pull all-nighters, coffee is sometimes the only thing that will help get us through the day.  Caffeine encourages a dopamine release, which may improve your mood once you’ve had your morning coffee.

Pro tip:

By incorporating aerobic exercise like brisk walking, light hiking or jogging into your day, it can help to improve your mood (thanks to a release of dopamine and serotonin in your brain). 

water, Ocean, Hiking, scenery, one hiker, Backpacking, Greece
Shelby Cohron

The next time you are at the grocery store or dining hall, be sure to look out for some of these nutritious and delicious foods!