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Our Ultimate List of Mood-Enhancing and Energy-Boosting Foods

Foods that boost mood and energy levels

Food is fuel. It keeps us going. And the type of fuel you fill your body with has a substantial impact. Think of your body as a high-tech sports car, it doesn’t perform its best on regular unleaded gas. Your body deserves premium fuel to function at its highest capacity. 

Certain foods and nutrients help your brain make chemicals that impact your mood, attention, and focus, while other foods can zap your energy. This article will reveal 20 energy-boosting foods, backed by science, that are guaranteed to boost your mood. 

20 Foods to Boost Your Mood

The Cleveland Clinic states simply that “the best meal to enhance your mood is one that combines complex carbohydrates with lean proteins and colorful produce.” We’re looking for anything that releases our favorite feel-good brain chemicals, such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. With that in mind, here are 20 mood-boosting foods science—and Planet Fitness—recommends to boost your mood ASAP. 

So get out your grocery list, and let’s get started.


Complex Carbs

These foods keep you full longer, pack in more nutrients, and take longer to break down. Examples of complex carbs include whole grains, vegetables, and legumes, which are all great options for maintaining a healthy diet. Additionally, complex carbs can help regulate blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Add the following to your grocery list: 

  1. Oatmeal
  2. Chickpeas or hummus
  3. Berries or other fiber-rich fruits

Fermented Foods 

Fermented foods have been historically popular due to their elongated shelf life. Our ancestors have used fermentation to keep cupboards full for centuries. But this type of preservation also improves gastrointestinal health, wards off disease, and boosts serotonin production.

Next time you fill up your virtual cart, include:

  1. Greek Yogurt
  2. Kimchee


It’s not only what you eat but what you drink! At the first signs of fatigue or grogginess, reach for a glass of water or refill that bottle. Hydration is key in keeping your mind and body sharp. Beyond that, consider lower caffeine options, like the ones below, to boost energy without the jittery side effects of coffee. 

  1. Water 
  2. Green Tea
  3. Yerba Mate

Fiber and Folate

Eating healthy foods is not enough. After absorbing all the possible nutrients, your body needs to move these foods through the intestines and make room for more the next day. 

This is where fiber and folate come into play. Fiber keeps things moving, and folate, one of the B vitamins, is important for red blood cell formation and healthy cell growth and function. 

Pop these foods into your cart to check fiber and folate off the list: 

  1. Sweet Potatoes
  2. Quinoa
  3. Black Eyed Peas
  4. Spinach

Vitamin C

A vital antioxidant that enhances brain function, vitamin C also has many other benefits and is known to help ward off neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s. 

Keep the following in your home for snacking and adding to meals:

  1. Oranges
  2. Tomatoes
  3. Lemons
  4. Cantaloupes

Lean Proteins

It’s no surprise to conclude our healthy shopping list with lean proteins, as these will keep energy levels high and take longer to digest than carbs. Lean proteins balance your blood sugar and provide lasting energy while fighting off the dreaded “hanger” that always arrives at the most inopportune moments. 

Next time you’re at the store, grab: 

  1. Wild-caught salmon
  2. Free range eggs
  3. Lentil
  4. Chicken

Turn Your Low Energy into Big Fitness Energy

With the right energy-boosting foods in your pantry, you can boost your mood and energy with every meal. And with your positive momentum, you’ll also be ready to focus on your physical health. 

Join Planet Fitness to keep up the Big Fitness Energy, or get started now for free on the PF App.