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25 Endorphin-Releasing Foods and Beverages That May Make You Happier

Margaret Minnicks is a health-conscious person who researches the health benefits of foods and drinks.


Foods satisfy our physical hunger. Certain foods have an effect on our emotional needs as well. Foods that release endorphins should be added to our diet to reduce stress and improve our mood.

Endorphins are hormones that are released into the brain and nervous system to make people happy. Endorphins are released through certain activities such as exercise, having sex, laughing, getting a massage, meditating, sunshine, owning a pet, eating certain foods, and drinking some beverages.

This article focuses on 25 endorphin-releasing foods and beverages that actually make us happy when they are consumed.

1. Apples

We have heard that an apple a day keeps the doctor away long enough to believe it. Eating apples not only produces a calming effect, but the fruit also gives us energy and provides overall happiness.

The British Journal of Health Psychology maintains that an apple a day really does keep the blues away.



2. Asparagus

Asparagus contains high levels of tryptophan that is a key ingredient in making serotonin that promotes calmness and relaxation. Without tryptophan that is found in asparagus and other foods, your body will not produce serotonin. Serotonin in the brain helps prevent depression and anxiety.

3. Bananas

Bananas are full of potassium and tryptophan, the same ingredient found in asparagus. That combination is a brain chemical that helps regulate your mood.

Bananas are also a good source of B vitamin folate. Without it, your body will have low levels of the vitamin that has been linked to depression. Eating one banana a day provides enough vitamin B6 that help regulate mood and keep people feeling calm and relaxed.

4. Beans

Beans are good for the heart and for the mind too. The selenium in them gives people more energy. Beans elevate the mood when people are feeling low. Besides, beans can boost the mood and keep people happy.


5. Berries

Berries are good for eliminating depression. Blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries produce dopamine and folate which contribute to the production of serotonin that fights off depression and improves your mood.

6. B Vitamins

Taking B vitamins help eliminate a bad mood. Take vitamin B6 to avoid irritability, short attention spans, and short term memory loss. Vitamin B6 is found in brown rice, legumes, whole grains, and meats.

Vitamin B12 is a great brain-boosting supplement. B12 vitamins are found in green leafy vegetables including broccoli, collards, kale, and spinach.

brown rice

brown rice

7. Brown Rice

Most people know that brown rice has more health benefits than white rice. It might surprise some people that brown rice can naturally boost serotonin levels that provide stress relief.

8. Coffee

Drinking coffee has been linked to lower levels of depression, according to JAMA Internal Medicine. Coffee is a mood enhancer that makes people feel good. That's why so many people drink it.

After drinking just one cup of coffee, studies show that the beverage can lower depression and improves a person's mood.

You can eat yourself happy with these endorphin-releasing foods.

9. Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate has lots of health benefits. One very important benefit is that it helps to release endorphins in the brain. Dark chocolate has been found to reduce the stress hormone cortisol.

Science proves that chocolate makes people happy. Eat small servings of dark chocolate at least 2-3 times each week to keep endorphins in the brain.

10. Eggs

According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, eggs are high in choline that helps boost memory. Eggs are also a very good source of vitamin D that helps fight depression;

11. Ginseng

Ginseng benefits people when they become fatigued and stressed. The herb balances the release of stress hormones in the body and supports the organs that produce these hormones. It may also help release endorphins.


12. Grapes

Grapes do a very good job of preventing the symptoms of stress in the body. Eat grapes as a snack to boost your mood. Pack grapes in your lunch to keep you calm during stressful moments at work.

13. Green Tea

Stress is usually lower in individuals who drink green tea every day, according to a Japanese study. People who drink green tea feel more relaxed and less anxious. The tea helps relax the mind and keep people alert.


14. Greek Yogurt

The calcium in Greek yogurt alerts the brain to release chemicals that make you feel good. Not getting enough calcium can contribute to irritability, anxiety, and depression.

Protein from a cupful of Greek yogurt helps a person relax and stay calm. Probiotics in Greek yogurt are a tasty way to fight depression.

15. Mushrooms

Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to low-mood depression, according to a study from the University of Melbourne. Mushrooms are very high in vitamin D. If you suffer from irritability, anxiety, and depression, try eating more mushrooms.

16. Oranges

Oranges have many health benefits, including vitamin C. That particular vitamin helps ward off anxiety and depression, according to a study by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.


17. Seafood

The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish increases serotonin and dopamine levels which produce hormones that make you feel good.

Low levels of zinc have been linked to anxiety. To keep yourself from depression, eat foods rich in zinc such as oysters.

Salmon is full of omega-3 fatty acids which improve mood and fight depression, according to a study in the Journal of Pharmacological Research.


18. Spinach

Spinach alleviates depression and reduces fatigue because of its folic acid, according to the Journal of Physiology. Just one cup of spinach has natural stress-fighting power. Include spinach in your diet to keep you in a good mood.

19. Spicy Foods

Spicy foods can help endorphins to be released in the brain. The capsaicin in chili peppers makes them spicy. Other spicy foods have the same effect as hot chili peppers. Even eating hot sauce can release endorphins.

20. Tomatoes

A study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders shows that people who eat tomatoes two to six times a week are 46 percent less likely to suffer from depression than people who don't eat tomatoes at all.

Lycopene in tomatoes is an extremely potent antioxidant that helps ward off inflammation that causes depression and reduces stress.


21. Turmeric

Turmeric is high in antioxidants that help fight depression and elevate the mood. The curcumin in turmeric helps fight depression because it increases serotonin and dopamine levels.

22. Quinoa

An ingredient found in quinoa has been linked to anti-depressant effects. A flavonoid found in quinoa, quercetin, helps eliminate anxiety and depression, according to a study in the Journal of Neuropharmacology.

Quinoa is a carbohydrate that can help prevent depression and anxiety by increasing levels of serotonin in the brain.


23. Walnuts

A study at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA found that eating walnuts can improve brain function. Their high content of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals help improve the mood.

The large amount of omega-3 gives the brain the amount of endorphins that help keep people feeling good and up to par.

24. Water

If you are stressed, drinking a glass of water can help tremendously. There is a link between drinking water and reducing stress. Every organ in our body including the brain needs water to function properly. Being dehydrated can lead to stress.

Just drinking water seems too simple to be effective, but it can calm you and boost your mood.


25. Wine

Drinking wine, especially red wine, has been documented to improve your emotional well-being. Wine reduces stress and anxiety. It also helps you relax.

Even though wine helps a person to be calm, drinking should be done in moderation.


Seven Ways to Boost Endorphins

Foods That Make You Happy

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.


Dianna Mendez on April 06, 2019:

Most of these are on my weekly list of foods consumed as meals. Dark chocolate more often!

Margaret Minnicks (author) from Richmond, VA on March 14, 2019:

Ellison, that is really GREAT!

Ellison Hartley from Maryland, USA on March 14, 2019:

Very cool, since a lot of these foods I eat regularly!