Feeling crabby and a bit crotchety? Pop a few berries in your mouth, snap off a piece of chocolate and wash it down with some tea, as a group of scientists have found that these foods contain similar mood-enhancing chemicals used in anti-depression drugs.
After studying the composition of blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, teas and chocolate, scientists from the Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies in Florida found that the chemicals in these foods bear striking structural similarity to valproic acid, a widely used prescription mood-stabilizing drug.
Valproic acid is sold under brand names like Depakene, Depakote and Stavzor.
The findings were presented at the 244th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society in Philadelphia over the weekend.
But researchers warn that the findings come with a caveat.
"It is important to remember that just eating foods that may improve mood is not a substitute for prescribed antidepressive drugs," said lead researcher Karina Martinez-Mayorga.
For those who aren't on medication, however, a healthy lifestyle can generally boost moods as well, she notes.
Meanwhile, a 2009 study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that dieters who followed a low-calorie, low-fat diet reported improved moods over the long term.
Better moods among dieters who followed a low-carb diet, however, were short-lived.