A cupcake may briefly lift your spirits, but these dietary changes can keep you happier in the long run.
Step 1: Munch on walnuts Munch on a handful of walnuts. They're a rich source of vitamin B6, which the body needs to produce serotonin, a brain chemical involved in staving off depression. Sunflower seeds and wheat germ are also good sources of B6.
Step 2: Fill up on fish Eat at least two servings of fish per week. The omega-3 fatty acids in seafood increase serotonin levels, and some research indicates that people who eat fish less than once a week have about a 30 percent higher incidence of depression.
TIP: Wild fish has higher concentrations of omega-3s than farmed fish.
Step 3: Increase your intake of folic acid Eat foods that contain folic acid, also called folate -- spinach, lentils, asparagus, and peas. Researchers have found a possible link between depression and low levels of this B vitamin.
Step 4: Have the fowl Enjoy chicken and turkey; both have tryptophan, an amino acid that is essential to the production of serotonin. Researchers have found that people who are deprived of tryptophan fall into a depression.
Step 5: Pass the pasta When you're feeling stressed, eat complex carbohydrates like whole-grain breads and pasta. Carbs enable tryptophan to enter the brain.
Step 6: Sprinkle sesame seeds on salads Eat tahini or snack on sesame seeds. They're rich in the amino acid threonine, a deficiency of which has been linked to depression.
FACT: According to research, people who eat a Mediterranean-style diet -- high in fruits, vegetables, and fish -- are less likely to get depressed than those who eat mostly processed and fatty foods.