Catalyzing Happiness: Food for Thought, A Real "Happy" Meal!

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Mood-affecting chemicals are created by compounds found in food, and some foods are better at helping neurotransmitter production than others. We'll call these happy foods. – Josh Clark

We have all heard of comfort foods, which can make us feel happier during times of stress.

Psychological studies have turned up evidence that the comfort foods we crave connect us to happy memories from our pasts. By eating foods that remind us of those times, we symbolically consume that past happiness.

Beyond ‘comfort,’ there are foods which can actually make us happier.

“Two types of neurotransmitters are responsible for our moods: inhibitory and excitatory. Excitatory neurotransmitters -- like norepinephrine -- stimulate our bodies and minds. We get worn out after being amped up for too long, though, and so this type of neurotransmitter can actually lead to unhappiness. Inhibitory neurotransmitters -- like serotonin -- exert a calming influence on our minds, by counteracting the effects of excitatory neurotransmitters. Ultimately, the best moods are found when there is a balance between these two types.

Typically, serotonin is the neurotransmitter most linked to happiness, since you need it to regulate sleep and pain. It's also a powerhouse at counteracting excitatory neurotransmitters.  Another major neurotransmitter that helps regulate and stabilize mood is gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA), commonly referred to as "nature's Valium" because of its tranquilizing effects on the body. GABA is produced during the Krebs cycle, a physiological process by which nutrients are converted to energy for cellular use. Foods don't contain GABA, but some contain the neurotransmitter's building block, an amino acid called l-glutamine.” *

A study in the Journal of Nutrition showed that people who consumed the least folate were 67 % more likely to suffer from depression than those who took in the most. Spinach is one of the best sources of folate there is, with 262 micrograms per cup. The recommended dietary allowance of folate is 400 micrograms daily, so add other folate-rich foods like asparagus, broccoli, and beans to your diet too.

To make a real ‘happy’ meal, include a variety of these foods which are nutrient-rich:

  • Vitamin B:  asparagus, nuts, brown rice, bananas, and beans
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: salmon, sardines, flax seeds and walnuts
  • Vitamin D: orange juice, sardines, eggs, mushrooms, salmon and tuna



About Stacey

Stacey HallStacey Hall, L.S.H., C.N.T.C., is the CEO and Founder of the Hall Institute of Intuitive Wellness and the best-selling author of 'Chi-To-Be! Achieving Your Ultimate B-All.’ (  While recovering from a debilitating illness which left her physically exhausted, emotionally drained, and mentally numb, Stacey Hall made a declaration to herself, “I would devote my life to healing my heart. And, as I learned what made my heart happy, I would share what I learned with others to help them heal their hearts, too.” She joins us to share her insights along this journey.

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Stacey Hall


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