Anyone who has ever reached for a sugary snack when stressed out or feeling grouchy knows that the solace you get is fleeting: a few minutes of satisfaction followed by the inevitable blood-sugar crash, with added irritability to boot. How to boost your mood with food wisely?

1. Caffeine in moderation. Caffeine triggers the release of the brain chemical dopamine—important for sharpening focus and improving your outlook. Coffee also contains plant-based nutrients that function much like a class of drugs that are used to treat depression. Of course, caffeine doesn't affect everyone in the same way, so cut back on java or other caffeinated drinks if you start to get the jitters or sleep poorly.

2. More omega-3s. Unfortunately, over the last 150 years, we've greatly minimized the amount of omega-3s in our diet. All adults should eat two to three servings of oily fish such as salmon each week. Grass-fed beef, chicken and pork (which have higher omega-3 levels than their corn-fed brethren), avocados and nuts are other good sources. Aim for about 2 grams a day—what you'll get by eating a 4-ounce piece of salmon or a quarter cup of walnuts.

3. A healthy snack. Beat your afternoon slump by having a snack with 25 to 30g of carbs—equal to about three quarters of a cup of Cheerios. It's a small caloric expense to pay for feeling good.

4. Add in carbs. Research shows that eating the equivalent of one slice of whole-grain toast or a few graham crackers causes the body to release insulin, which in turn increases the amount of tryptophan that gets into your brain.

5. Spinach is the king of greens, supplying 131 micrograms (mcg), or 33 percent of the 400 mcg recommended daily allowance (RDA) of folate for women 19 to 50, in just half a cup of the cooked vegetable or 2 cups uncooked. Because folate is water-soluble, your body does not store it, and you need a continuous supply through the foods you eat.

6. Add heat to meals. Try adding turmeric to a stir-fry, soup or chicken dish, and don't hesitate with the pepper grinder: Piperine, the main component in black pepper, may help the body absorb curcumin and enhances its antidepressant effect long-term. Want to get high on your meal right now? Go liberal with the chilis -- capsaicin, the compound that gives chili peppers their kick, sets off pain receptors in the mouth, which in turn send a message to your brain to release feel-good endorphins. This mood-lifting effect is actually similar to the endorphin rush that you get after a trip to the gym.