Fresh foods are happier foods than processed foods. How would we know? Well, the chemicals in the brain that create feelings of happiness are produced by some of the foods we eat.
What to nosh on then? Complex carbohydrates -- like legumes and whole-grain breads -- slowly release glucose, which provides lasting energy and protects against chronic fatigue. Folate, which is found in foods like spinach, is a B vitamin that's essential to the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that stabilizes mood. The pleasure-inducing chemical dopamine contains tyrosine and phenylalanine, a pair of amino acids that occur in protein-packed foods like fish, meat and beans.
The mere act of eating right can help you trick yourself into being happy. Make sure you keep your eating habits in perspective, though: Putting yourself on a diet may be going too far and could actually make your good mood plummet. University of Pennsylvania psychologist Martin Seligman points out that depression is caused by feelings of failure and helplessness. Unfortunately, dieting often leads to both of these feelings when the dieter doesn't stick to it. Try eating right -- but on an unofficial basis.