11 Good Mood Plant Foods To Beat Holiday Depression

Neither stress nor holiday weight gain need ruin your holidays this year. Here are tips about eating habits and foods that can boost your mood when a stressful situation strikes. You’ll feel calmer – and be trimmer — throughout the holiday season.

The best way to cope with holiday stress and obligations is to keep your mood and energy stable. You’ll not only feel better, but will be much less likely to overeat.

“Choosing foods that your body absorbs slowly keeps blood sugar steady, maintaining your feelings on an even keel,” says Elizabeth Somer, RD, author of Food & Mood.

Black-Eyed Peas

mood-boosting vegan foods

Also check out 10 Unexpectedly Potent Plant Foods That Relieve Anxiety

One cup of cooked black-eyed peas contains 89 percent of your daily value of vitamin B-9 (folic acid). Folic acid is crucial nutrient for normal brain functioning and emotional health, but alcoholism, celiac disease, or inflammatory bowel disease can all negatively affect its absorption.

Brazil Nuts

mood-boosting vegan foods

Also check out 7 Essential Vegan Nutrients To Eat To Fight Holiday Stress

Brazil nuts have the highest concentration of the trace mineral selenium; eating just 4 grams will provide more than 100 percent of the recommended daily intake. Several studies and literature reviews provide evidence that supplementing a diet with extra selenium can help improve mood, and that people who lack this essential nutrient are more likely to be depressed.


The University of Maryland Medical Center claims that 90 percent of Americans don’t get enough chromium in their daily diet. A half cup of broccoli provides 11 micrograms of chromium,  almost 50 percent of the recommended daily intake. This trace mineral works directly with mood regulators in the brain, and it aids in managing levels of mood-boosting neurons like serotonin, norepinephrine, and melatonin.

Kidney Beans

mood-boosting vegan foods

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A steaming pot of chili can help you alleviate that winter depression, especially when you make it with kidney beans. What sets kidney beans apart from other legumes is their folate content, with one cup of cooked beans providing 58 percent of the daily recommended value. Studies dating back to the 1960s show that patients with depression often exhibit a folate deficiency.

Portobello Mushrooms

Meaty Flavorful Stuffed Mushrooms (Vegan)

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The unilluminated mornings of winter take a toll on our tans, but they also affect our natural intake of vitamin D. Fortunately, sunlight is not the only source of vitamin D; it can also be consumed inside at the dinner table. Portabella mushroom farmers expose their crops to additional lighting, which boosts the vitamin D content by almost 3,000 percent. Increasing vitamin D intake has been used as an easy and cost-effective way to lessen the effects of depression.

Sunflower Seeds

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Even the name sounds cheery. Within sunflower seeds are two important mood regulating nutrients: magnesium and folate. A deficiency in magnesium can result in feelings of fatigue and nervousness, while not enough folate leads to irritability, depression, and insomnia. A quarter cup of sunflower seeds provides the body with 28 percent of the daily recommended intake of magnesium and 20 percent of the recommended amount of folate.

Swiss Chard

mood-boosting vegan foods

Learn how to incorporate these foods in easy, delicious recipes with The Complete Vegan Recipes Solution; featuring 145 nutrient-dense dishes, scientifically designed to skyrocket energy levels and boost health.

Swiss chard contains magnesium, an essential mineral for neurological health that is most often found in seafood and organic meat. Magnesium is not prolific in the American diet because of our overreliance on refined carbohydrates that have their minerals stripped away. A deficiency in this mineral, however, can lead to a number of different mental health-related symptoms such as anxiety, irritability, confusion, and sleeplessness.

Roasted Chickpeas

Plant-based protein wins yet again. Tossed in spices and roasted in the oven, these little guys meet your crunchy, savory cravings while also providing the essential nutrients folate, manganese, and iron.

Sweet Potato Fries

Fries in any form mean happiness, but the roasted sweet potato kind especially deserve a shout-out for their vitamin B6 content. It’s an essential coenzyme for cognitive development and you can find 15% of your daily value in one medium-sized spud.


mood-boosting vegan foods

Can’t sleep? Try munching on an ounce of pistachios post-dinner. The protein, vitamin B6, and magnesium in these nuts can help get you in the state for better ZZZ’s and consequently feel more alert tomorrow.


mood-boosting vegan foods

Pulses — a.k.a. the edible seeds of legumes — have found their way into everything from pasta (like Banza) to chips (like Beanitos). You’ll still want to watch out for the sugar, sodium, and saturated fat content in processed foods, but the addition of plant-based protein can make indulging in your fave snacks a smarter choice. Of course, feel free to add lentils, beans, and peas to your dishes the traditional way for an extra boost.

Learn how to incorporate these foods in easy, delicious recipes with The Complete Vegan Recipes Solution; featuring 145 nutrient-dense dishes, scientifically designed to skyrocket energy levels and boost health.

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