Eat Healthy. Be Happy.

The following five foods help improve your mood, according to Judith Wurtman, Ph.D., a former Massachusetts Institute of Technology research scientist and coauthor of The Serotonin Power Diet.

Oatmeal – Yes, you can eat carbs! Wurtman says just 20 minutes after eating a bowl of oatmeal, your body sends an amino acid called tryptophan into the brain to trigger the manufacture of serotonin. Serotonin makes you feel tranquil and better able to cope. Just make sure you stick with carbohydrates rich in fiber, including whole wheat pasta and beans. Both keep serotonin flowing steadily.

Snack on nuts! Pistachios provide fiber, antioxidants and unsaturated fatty acids, which are all linked to lower blood pressure. These also keep you cool and calm. Almonds contain magnesium, which turns carbohydrates, protein and fat into your boost of energy! And walnuts keep the blues away thanks to omega-3 essential fatty acids – proven to give you a more positive outlook for the day!

Guacamole- Gracias Avocado! Because it’s high in monounsaturated fat and potassium, an avocado-based guacamole dip is great for lowering blood pressure, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Monounsaturated fat also helps keep receptors in the brain sensitive to mood-boosting serotonin. Half an avocado a day will do the trick.

Chocolate- Chocolate releases endorphins, the chemicals in the brain that make you happy. In addition, chocolate has been known to lower blood pressure and reduces your risk of a stroke. The darker the better, and less is more… we’re talking a couple Hershey’s Kisses here.

Eat fresh and buy local! All of the choices above, in addition to an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables, can be found at your local farmer’s markets. For more information on nutrition and other paths to healthy living, visit healthyworks.org.