The secret to happiness may be in your next meal. According to findings from studies that have examined the connection between food and mood, what you eat plays a role in how content you feel. For example, protein-rich foods affect alertness and that carbohydrate-rich foods help with relaxation. The specific foods that had the most mood-lifting benefits were fruits, nuts, legumes, and olive oil.

In a study, which observed more than 1000 women (aged 20-93), researchers found that a diet full of processed and fried foods, refined grains, sugary products, and beer was associated with more symptoms of depression. A similar study found that participants in their 50s who ate a diet full of sweetened desserts, fried food, processed meat, refined grains, and high-fat dairy products had a 1.5 times greater risk of depression than those whose diet was heavily loaded with vegetables, fruit, and fish.

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