Unless you're Popeye, spinach probably isn't the first thing that comes to mind when you think of "happy foods." There are plenty of people who enjoy munching these leafy greens, but most of us would rather devour an ice cream sundae or a slice of chocolate cake than order up a spinach salad to boost our moods. However, unlike the temporary pleasure that comes from decedent desserts, spinach actually contains compounds that actively work to keep your brain happy.
Spinach and other leafy greens, such as kale, are high in folate, the natural form of folic acid found in food. Folate is a natural B-vitamin that helps the brain create serotonin, a neurotransmitter closely liked to happiness. There have been numerous studies linking low folate and serotonin levels to depression, and evidence strongly suggests that these chemicals play a pivotal role in mental health [source: Men's Health, Bouchez]. Spinach may not spontaneously transform you into a muscled hero like Popeye, but it will help you maintain a positive outlook and a happy attitude.
Spinach is extremely easy to incorporate into your diet -- it can be used in place of lettuce in a salad and can make a tasty, healthy addition to just about any food, including hamburgers and eggs. Many people believe the tastes of spinach and onions complement each other, so try adding spinach to any dish that contains onions.