Want to learn more about natural remedies that are not only good for you but contain chemicals that can put in a better mood?

When you’re feeling down, your first inclination might be to reach for candy, a caffeinated drink or some other high-calorie comfort food. But most of these types of foods are not only bad for you, but can make your depressed or irritable mood even worse.

Eat 3 cups of air-popped popcorn and you’ll get only 100 calories, plus a good dose a Tryptophan, an amino acid that helps the body produce serotonin, a neurotransmitter hormone that helps regulate mood. When people think of tryptophan, they usually think of turkey. Though turkey is a good source of tryptophan, it contains more calories than popcorn, AND tryptophan from carbohydrates (like popcorn) rather than protein (turkey) seems to do a better job of helping the body produce serotonin.

Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds are a good source of the mineral Selenium, which is not only an important antioxidant, but seems to play a role in combating depression. A Nutritional Neuroscience review of five studies on Selenium and depression linked deficiencies in the mineral to poorer mood. Another study published in the Journal of Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine suggests that selenium can help prevent postpartum depression. When 44 postpartum women received 100 mcg of selenium daily, they scored lower on a postnatal depression scale. And sunflower seeds are easy on the waistline. A quarter cup of roasted seeds in their shells has about 70 calories and delivers 30 percent of the daily recommended value of Selenium.

Avocados contain Oleic Acid, a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid that increases serotonin in the brain, keeping you calm and balanced. In a study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, researchers at the University of Nivarra in Spain found that people who consumed a Mediterranean diet rich in fruits, nuts, fish and olive oil (all of which are also rich in Oleic Acid)were 30 percent less likely to become depressed.

One of the most reliably-sweet fruits you can eat, bananas are only about 100 calories each and contain healthy amounts of Magnesium, a mineral that helps the brain cope better with stress and may help improve your mood. In a study published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, researchers linked higher levels of anxiety and depression to study participants with lower magnesium intake. Bananas are also an excellent source of Potassium, which helps boost alertness, Tryptophan, which helps the body produce serotonin and mood-stabilizing Vitamin B6.