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While sleep and exercise are essential aspects of a healthy lifestyle, diet also factors prominently - especially with regard to mood.

“Integrating mood-enhancing foods into your diet is lifestyle medicine,” reported psychologytoday.com in 2014. “The act of being conscious, choosing well and staying the course also boosts mood/pride/confidence.”

In fact, there are “7 Ways to Boost Your Mood with Food,” according to verywellmind.com in January:

1. Omega-3 fatty acids (abundant in oily fish such as sardines, salmon and mackerel) may contribute to proper brain functioning; in contrast, deficiencies in omega-3 fatty acids have been linked to mental health problems.

2. Consumption of a probiotic supplement has been found to improve both gut symptoms and depression in people with irritable bowel syndrome; healthy digestion leads to a better mood.

3. Whole grains are important sources of B vitamins, which are vital for brain health.

4. Breakfast is important; choose foods rich in fiber, nutrients and good fats. Oatmeal is rich in soluble fiber. Other mood-boosting breakfast foods include citrus fruits, strawberries, apples, whole grains and nuts.

5. A folate deficiency may impair the metabolism of serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline (neurotransmitters important for mood); thus, folate-rich vegetables to include regularly in a diet are spinach, edamame, artichokes, okra, turnip greens, avocado and broccoli. Plus, folate is plentiful in beans and lentils.

6. Caffeine may trigger the release of brain chemicals such as dopamine, important for performance and mood. However, enjoy in moderation. Besides coffee, consider spiced chai, as well as black and green tea.

7. Vitamin D may increase levels of serotonin, a key neurotransmitter influencing mood. Eat foods rich in vitamin D and/or take supplements.

Importantly, Cleveland Clinic also suggests pairing carbohydrates and protein. A few ideas are salmon on a bed of brown rice with fresh lemon juice, and a whole-grain tortilla with spicy beans topped with plain Greek yogurt.

Psycom.net lists food categories to avoid when melancholy: refined carbohydrates, sugar, processed foods and fats. These can lead to blood sugar level spikes and overall sluggishness.