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Eat your way to a better mood

Thursday - 10/18/2012, 5:32am  ET

chocolate covered strawberry (Thinkstock)
Researchers say the molecules in chocolate and in some berries contain omega-3 fatty acids, which can improve your mood. (Thinkstock)

WASHINGTON - Are you stress eating? Well, it turns out it actually helps - as long as you're eating the right foods.

The American Chemical Society says foods such as chocolate and berries act similarly to valporic acid, which is a common mood- stabilizing drug, reports PsychCentral.

"The large body of evidence that chemicals in chocolate, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, teas and certain foods could well be mood-enhancers encourages the search for other mood modulators in food," says Karina Martinez-Mayorga, who led the research team that found the valporic acid connection.

She adds that eating these foods isn't a substitute for medicine.

Need some ideas on where to start snacking for a better mood? Here are nine picks from MSN's Healthy Living that should cheer you up.

  • Dark chocolate: Helps reduce anxiety and depression, so feel free to indulge.

  • Salmon: Fights depression, helps memory and improves focus.

  • Spinach: Popeye will be proud. This leafy green protects against free radicals that contribute to low energy and mood swings.

  • Chicken: Vitamin B12 in the white meat calm the body. Not enough B12 makes you tired.

  • Tofu: This soy product is great for relaxing tired muscles.

  • Avocado: This green guy has mood-boosting serotonin and is great for skin, hair and nails.

  • Greek yogurt: Probiotics better your mood and are great for the immune system.

  • Green tea: The theanine in green tea is a calming agent.

  • Berries: Nutrients in blueberries as well as strawberries and raspberries help reduce stress and ease depression.

WTOP's Megan Cloherty contributed to this report. Follow WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)