We all know that pizza and ice cream bring us instant gratification, but they often leave us feeling bloated, heavy, and sluggish. How much does it suck that the foods we find comfort in, our supposed “pick-me-ups,” actually end up bringing us down? They offer the high, but they are also accompanied by a post-consumption low.

I’m not saying that comfort foods are failing us entirely, but it’s important to note that there are actually foods out there capable of both making us feel good in the moment and after eating them.


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What Foods Are Capable of Picking Us Up Beyond the First Bite?

1. Fruit


Photo by Santina Renzi

Essentially nature’s candy. Fruits like bananas, pineapple, and berries are high in potassium, folate, and Vitamin B, helping to stimulate amino acids, which signal the body to produce Tryptophan. Tryptophan is the real deal because it then stimulates the “feel-good” hormone, serotonin. Basically, fruit is a major win for the tastebuds and for the body.

2. Seafood


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Oily fish and seafood are filled with omega-3s, which decrease inflammation and increase serotonin (aka the happy hormone) levels. What more could you ask for? Tuna, salmon, prawns, lobster, oysters… the options of fishy friends are endless. Low levels of zinc have been linked to anxiety, and lucky for us, seafood is loaded with this happy mineral, so you can wave anxiety goodbye when you’re getting your zinc fix.

3. Mushrooms


Photo by Devon Carlson

These fungi live up to their name. They are rich in the mineral selenium, which when deficient, puts a person at greater risk of suffering from depression, anxiety, and fatigue. Mushrooms are also a major natural vitamin D source, which also when low, can lead to low-mood depression. So, when the sun isn’t shinning and you’re feeling low, mushrooms are the way to go.

4. Coffee


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All you avid coffee connoisseurs probably already associate coffee with happiness, but it has actually been linked to lower levels of depression. Coffee consumption can be a social event or a calm start to the morning, which often ties it to friendship, satisfaction, or calm and peace. So, however you enjoy your cup of joe, know that it’s giving you some happiness help, in addition to serving as a wake up call.

5. Chocolate


Photo by Morgan Goldberg

In addition to chocolate’s immediate happiness delivery, there is actual scientific evidence proving it’s happiness providing properties. Dark chocolate is the real winner for happiness, and I’m not complaining. It contains antioxidants that trigger the walls of your blood vessels to relax and also reduces the stress hormone, cortisolDark chocolate also contains magnesium, which alleviates fatigue, depression, and irritability.

Food is such a beautiful thing. It undeniably brings us happiness in all forms, but now we know the ones that truly make us happy past that first delicious bite. These are the ones that we should equip ourselves with when we need more than just a pick-me-up, but rather something to carry us through.