1 Leafy Greens
Dark leafy greens like spinach are rich in folate, which helps your body produce mood-regulating neurotransmitters, including serotonin and dopamine. One 2012 study found people who consumed the most folate had a lower risk of depression Furthermore, research from the University of Otago found eating fruits and vegetables of any sort (except fruit juice and dried fruit) helped young adults calm their nerves.
2 Light Therapy (not a food but relevant)
Full Spectrum Light Therapy is often recommended over antidepressants for the treatment of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), but according to recent research, light therapy may be preferable even for major depression. Light therapy alone and placebo were both more effective than Prozac for the treatment of moderate to severe depression in the eight-week study. Blue light (during the day only) has been found to be particularly beneficial for boosting your mood, as it plays a key role in your brain’s ability to process emotions. Do not use blue light after 7 p.m (suppresses melatonin).
3 Eat Mushrooms
Mushrooms are certainly a wonderful medicinal food and many varieties are rich in the antioxidant selenium, low levels of which have been linked to anxiety. Mushrooms are also one of the better food sources of vitamin D, which supports healthy mood (however, your best option to optimize your vitamin D levels is moderate sun exposure or use of a high-quality tanning bed (in moderation and when you are of age). Vitamin D supplement may be the option for some people.
4 Smell Oranges or Orange Essential Oil
Sweet Orange Oil has been found to have anxiety-inhibiting effects in humans, supporting its common use as a tranquilizer by aromatherapists. Ambient odors of orange (and lavender) also reduced anxiety and improved mood in patients waiting for dental treatment. Compared to the controls, women who were exposed to orange odor in a dental office had a lower level of anxiety, a more positive mood, and a higher level of calmness. Researchers concluded, exposure to ambient odor of orange has a relaxant effect.
5 Eat Dark Chocolate
Like exercise, chocolate may trigger your brain to produce the “bliss compound” anandamide. It also contains other chemicals that prolong the “feel-good” aspects of anandamide. Chocolate has even been referred to as “the new anti-anxiety drug.” One study in the Journal of Psychopharmacology also revealed that drinking an antioxidant-rich chocolate drink equal to about 1.5 ounces of dark chocolate daily felt calmer than those who did not.