We’ve all had those days when we’re feeling sad, consumed with anxiety, and stressed to the max (looking at you, Monday)…

Mood swings are the worst, especially when you can’t shake them.

When you’re wondering if you’ll ever feel happy again, you can actually turn things around by eating healthy snacks with mood-boosting ingredients.

If you want to try to combat mood swings, stress, anxiety, and depression, start at the grocery store. Certain ingredients can be natural antidepressants or offer natural remedies for anxiety.

What could be better than eating your way to happiness?

While you may have heard that exercise, meditation, and a hot bath can do wonders to relieve anxiety and depression, food can play a huge role too.

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It turns out that food can significantly affect how our brains work, including the state of our mental health.

Have you ever cried into a pint of ice cream after a break-up? Or a particularly tough day with the kids? It may have made you even more depressed!

According to nutritional psychiatry, there is a huge connection between gut health and brain function.

The gut houses 90% of our serotonin receptors (the feel-good chemicals that make us happy) so what we eat matters when it comes to our mood.

Here are three healthy snacks with mood-boosting ingredients that can help you get out of that funk:

1. Kombucha

Kombucha is fermented tea that’s packed with probiotics (good gut bacteria that occurs naturally) and prebiotics (plant-based fibres that help probiotics grow.)

It’s kind of like a tea soda that’s flavoured with fruit and full of health benefits.

If you’ve never tried Kombucha, it may seem strange, but this stuff is seriously delicious! Not all Kombucha is mixed with prebiotics, but quality kombucha brands like Wonder Drink make sure to include them so you get way more health benefits.

Aside from its A+ in the taste department, Kombucha has been shown to boost mood and decrease depression. According to a 2017 review from the Annals of General Psychiatry, researchers found that out of 10 studies, the majority of them showed that probiotics can improve symptoms of depression.

Healthy snacks are great to have around, but healthy food that can contribute to your happiness and mental health is even better

2. Granola bars

Did you know that the granola bar at the bottom of your bag could help you feel happier today?

These handy little bars are packed with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that are known to alleviate stress, anxiety, and depression.

Not all granola bars are created equal though, so make sure to find one that knows how important these mood-boosting ingredients are.

You want a bar that’s made with protein, fibre, vitamin C, vitamin D, which are all ingredients that may help calm the nerves. It’s also important to find a bar with a low sugar content.

According to studies, low blood sugar has been related to depression and anxiety, but adding more protein and fibre to the diet can boost blood sugar and your mood! The B vitamins in whole grains have been shown to reduce stress and elevate mood too (granola is full of whole grains!)

This healthy snack is one of the most convenient options out there and is a great food for anxiety-fighting ingredients.

3. Chickpeas and lentils

These legumes may look tiny but they’re great for your mental health in a big way! Sprinkle them on your salad for tons of protein, fibre, B vitamins, magnesium, and folate!

Why should you care about adding these nutrients to your diet?

Well, because studies show that they’re pretty incredible for improving mood. Proteins are key to supporting brain neurotransmitters, and B vitamins help the nervous system develop.

According to certified nutrition coach and natural foods chef, Ingrid DeHart:

“Lentils and chickpeas are full of high quality protein and an excellent source of B vitamins. The amino acids in proteins are the precursors to brain neurotransmitters that keep you in a good mood. Your body needs B vitamins to make mood boosting neurotransmitters, including serotonin, which regulate mood and conduct messages through the brain.”

Lentils, in particular, are packed with folate, a nutrient that can contribute to depression if deficient. Chickpeas are packed with magnesium, which has been shown to significantly improve anxiety and depression symptoms too!

If chickpeas and lentils don’t exactly sound appetising to you, don’t worry, there are companies out there like Chickapea who make pasta and other snacks out of them. This way, you can skip the salads and go straight to the Penne!

Healthy snacks are great to have around, but healthy food that can contribute to your happiness and mental health is even better.

We are what we eat, so if you eat foods with mood-boosting ingredients, you may just find a healthier, happier you!

Shannon is a writer who focuses on beauty, health, and wellness. For more of her content, visit her author profile on YourTango

This article was first published on YourTango.