Sometimes when things aren't going the way that you want, it's easy to turn to food. Whether you're feeling down because of a bad grade, your parents are giving you a hard time, or something else entirely is bothering you, a satisfying snack may seem like just the thing to improve your mood. But instead of ordering a pizza or getting Chinese takeout, have a look at these several common superfoods that have actually been proven help you beat your funk. 

1. Dark Chocolate

chocolate, coffee, candy, sweet, milk chocolate, milk
Christin Urso

Not only is dark chocolate an enjoyable dessert, but it is also full of antioxidants that are believed to improve one's mood. In fact, a study done by the American Chemical Society in 2009 showed that dark chocolate was able to reduce stress hormones. Multiple other studies have concluded that chocolate can help prevent depression, so don't hesitate to grab a square of dark chocolate the next time you feel a craving.

2. Salmon

salmon, seafood, fish, salmon fillet, Protein
Jocelyn Hsu

Salmon contains omega-3 fatty acids, which are thought to have anti-inflammatory properties that help prevent depression. Studies show that people who eat salmon and other kinds of fish high in omega-3 fatty acids are more likely to feel positive emotions like happiness and excitement. As a bonus, salmon is also very filling and full of protein, making it a cure for the average hangry person. 

3. Avocado

avocado, vegetable, guacamole, sweet
Sarah Silbiger

The much-loved avocado is packed with monounsaturated fat, which helps improve mood by supporting a healthier flow of blood to the brain. This fruit also contains amino acids like tryptophan and omega-3 fatty acids, as well as vitamins such as folate and vitamin B6, all of which are connected to lower levels of anxiety and depression. It's no surprise why everyone is going nuts over avocados. 

4. Walnuts

nut, walnut, pecan
Kirby Barth

Speaking of nuts, walnuts are another superfood that help improve mood. They include a considerable amount of nutrients previously mentioned, such as folate, tryptophan, and omega-3s, and are also high in magnesium. Foods with magnesium have been proven to reduce the risk of depression because they help balance out levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter linked to mood. Walnuts make a handy snack for times when you're feeling down because they are high in fiber and protein

5. Berries

strawberry, berry, salad, mint
Hannah Linn

Berries are another type of mood-improving food that can be a convenient snack or included in countless breakfast, dessert, and smoothie recipes. Blueberries contain lots of a particular class of antioxidants called flavonoids, which have been proven to aid brain functioning and uplift your mood. Strawberries are high in vitamin C, another antioxidant that has been shown to support a faster recovery from stress. Berries in general can encourage positive thinking and prevent unhealthy inflammation in the brain. 

6. Citrus Fruits

citrus fruit

Growing a Green Family on Flickr

Oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and other fruits high in vitamin C boast a mood-improving benefit because vitamin C acts like an antioxidant by strengthening the immune system. Because the immune system and the brain are linked, citrus fruits can improve your physical health, which in turn makes you feel healthier and happier. So, the next time you're feeling lonely in your dorm room, peel an orange or squeeze some lemon into your water.

7. Tea

tea, green tea

It is well known that the caffeine in green or black tea can make you feel more energized and awake after a long night of studying for exams. Another hidden gem that can be found in caffeinated tea is an amino acid called L-thenanine, which coupled with caffeine can create a relaxing effect, in addition to enhancing mental focus and alertness. Herbal teas and other non-caffeinated teas contain antioxidants, such as minerals, vitamin C, and zinc, which (like citrus fruits) improve mood by boosting the immune system. 

8. Yogurt and Probiotics

yogurt, milk
Jason Cruz

Yogurt and milk are high in vitamin D, a mineral that when shown to be deficient in the body, has shown a correlation with depression. Probiotics, such as those in yogurt, are also found in fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut, and can improve intestinal health, which some studies have shown can lessen stress and anxiety. This is because the intestines are linked to mental health through what is called the "gut-brain axis", or the "network between the gastrointestinal tract and the central nervous system."

9. Leafy Greens

lettuce, vegetable, salad, parsley, Healthy, produce, Farmers market, Market, farmer's market, Health
Dea Uy

Vegetables like spinach, collards, chard, and kale contain large amounts of folic acid, the lack of which has been associated with higher degrees of depression. Leafy greens also have B6 vitamins, which are a crucial part of producing higher amounts of serotonin, the neurotransmitter that influences mood. Like walnuts, leafy greens also contain magnesium, a compound that helps alleviate anxiety. Not only will a salad lunch make your body feel better, but it can else help you power past your afternoon slump. 

These nine natural foods, which for the most part can be found in the average person's kitchen, are a few of the best options out there for improving your mood when you are in a bad headspace. The next time you feel like the world is against you, know that dark chocolate, salmon, and berries have your back, even when you're down.