It's no secret that food makes us happy—especially pizza, tacos, and anything containing chocolate. But a growing body of research suggests that what we put into our bodies has an immeasurable effect on our moods; one that extends beyond flavor and physical satisfaction. In other words, it is possible to eat your way to happiness and peace of mind, so to speak. As Mindbodygreen reports, consider introducing these five foods into your diet if you're looking for a mood-boost this winter:
Wild-caught salmon: Wild-caught salmon (as opposed to farm-raised) contains 11 of the "most important vitamins and minerals for making us happy," according to Tyler Graham and Drew Ramsey, authors of The Happiness Diet. With omega-3s, vitamin B12, and magnesium, fresh salmon can help treat depression, improve brain health, and ease anxiety.
Watermelon: Lycopene, the ingredient responsible for making watermelon red, also keeps your mood elevated and your skin looking youthful. Health benefits aside, watermelon is also a tasty, low-calorie snack and wonderful addition to any diet.
Jalapeños: After consuming capsaicin, the spicy ingredient in jalapeños, our bodies actually release endorphins and experience a feeling of euphoria similar to a runner's high. What's more, capsaicin can also prevent cancer and protect the brain during liver failure.
Butternut squash: Butternut squash contains an ingredient called betain, which aids in the production of the natural antidepressant SAM-e in the brain. It's also used as a healthy pasta alternative if you'd like to avoid a post-dinner carb coma.
Garlic: While we strongly advise against eating garlic raw, the vegetable is packed with a mineral called chromium, colloquially known as "natural Prozac." Chromium naturally regulates serotonin levels, which can help reduce pain and promote a calm mental state.
Head over to Mindbodygreen for the remaining happy foods, and share your thoughts on this mental health approach below!