We all have times when we don’t feel as happy as we should. Maybe you just got a test back that didn’t go as well as you had hoped. Maybe it’s cold and rainy out and you had planned on going to the beach. Or maybe you’re just feeling down and need a little pick-me-up. Whatever the problem is, it can be solved by eating one (or all) of these seven foods.

1. Chocolate


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Are you surprised? Probably not. Sometimes it seems like anything can be solved with chocolate — and there is actual scientific evidence to back this up. For one, chocolate (mainly dark) has been shown to reduce levels of cortisol, which is a major stress hormone in the body. This means that consuming chocolate can help make you less stressed out, more relaxed, and consequently happier.

Multiple studies suggest that eating chocolate makes the brain happier and more excited and the heart beat faster than even kissing does. In one study, the excitement that the chocolate provided was proved to be more intense and longer lasting than the excitement induced by kissing.

2. Seafood


Photo by Ashley Hamati

Seafood is rich in the mineral zinc, which has been shown to reduce symptoms associated with depression. If you are not getting enough zinc in your diet, your immune system can also be impaired, and nobody is happy when they are feeling sick. The part of the brain that regulates mood, the amygdala, also needs sufficient amounts of zinc to be able to function correctly — and therefore keep your mood in check.

If you’re looking to try this one out, here’s a recipe for cheesy shrimp nachos.

3. Broccoli


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When I think of foods that make you happy, broccoli definitely isn’t the first that comes to mind. However, broccoli is rich in chromium, which similar to zinc, is essential to the mood regulating areas of the brain. On top of that, chromium assists in regulating your metabolism and helps to prevent sugar crashes. This can help fight off that dreaded hanger we all hate so much. You’re not you when you’re hungry, right?

4. Mushrooms


Photo by GeorgiAnna Carbone-Wynne

You also might not think of mushrooms as a top pick to munch on when you’re feeling down, but you probably should. Mushrooms are surprisingly high in vitamin D — the same vitamin you get from the sun. This is another important mood regulator.

It’s important to make sure you’re eating plenty of vitamin D, especially when it’s cold outside and you’re not out by the pool all day to soak it up.There’s a reason being out in the warmth on a spring or summer day makes you so happy. It all makes sense now, doesn’t it?

5. Walnuts


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You have probably been told to eat your “good fats,” or your omega-3s. These omega-3s are alpha linolenic acids, which decrease inflammation. High inflammation levels have been linked to depression.

When omega-3s are low in the body, so is dopamine. We mentioned dopamine earlier, so you should be getting the gist that it is important to your happiness by now. It makes you less angry and aggressive, and enhances positive feelings.

6. Clams


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“Happy as a clam” is a saying backed by science. Clams are rich in vitamin B12, which we need in our body to help make serotonin and dopamine. People who do not get enough B12 have been linked to increased cases of depression.

Clams come in lots of forms, so there are plenty of ways to incorporate this happy food into your diet. Whether you like clam chowder or sipping them raw out of the shell is up to you — either way, your brain will thank you.

7. Coffee


Photo by Ashley Hamati

While coffee isn’t technically a food, it is something that is consumed by college students (and most everyone else) on a regular basis. It’s packed with antioxidants, which are linked to feel-good moods and lower rates of depression. Researchers have found that just the smell of coffee can reduce stress and make you happier and more alert. The caffeine perk that comes with a cup of coffee doesn’t hurt happiness levels either — it can make you feel like you’ve just slept eight hours and are ready to take on the day!

Food can do so much more for you than just satisfy your appetite. The micronutrients and non-nutrients in it have a profound effect on so many aspects of all around well-being — including happiness.