A recent study has discovered, the modern Western diet—high in processed and fried foods, simple carbs, sugars and unhealthy fats—can set you up for depression, anxiety, and mood swings. How to uplift your spirit with foods? Here are six truths about boosting your mood with foods.

1. That caffeine high is real. If you feel that your morning coffee soothes your soul, it's not your imagination: A large 2011 study from the Harvard School of Public Health found that women who drank at least two cups of coffee regularly had a 15 percent lower risk of depression than those who didn't drink any coffee—and their risk decreased by 20 percent when they downed four or more cups of joe a day.

2. Fat can feel great. Fat gives us that unparalleled satisfaction because it slows digestion, producing a calming, blood-sugar-evening effect. But a comprehensive review of studies comparing the incidence of mood disorders in several countries found that eating at least two seafood meals per week—high in omega-3 fatty acids, specifically—was associated with lower rates of depression and other emotional disorders. Other research backs this up, showing that people with low levels of omega-3s may be at increased risk of anxiety and depression, likely because these fats help maintain function in areas of the brain responsible for regulating mood and emotion.

3. Carbs are crucial. It's late afternoon, and all you can think about are the treats in the vending machine. That's thanks to a drop in the feel-good brain chemical serotonin, which can lead to that 4 o'clock mood slump some of us experience every afternoon.

4. A bliss trip needs tryptophan. The stuff originally thought to make you sleepy after Thanksgiving dinner is now believed to be a key to calm and happiness. In order to make serotonin, you need tryptophan, an amino acid that your body can't produce on its own, so it must be obtained from food—such as poultry, beef, eggs and nuts.

5. Happy salads have spinach. You can give your lunch a brain-friendly shot in the arm by trading the romaine lettuce for spinach, which provides more of the B vitamin folate per ounce. Higher concentrations of folate in the blood are linked to a decrease in negative mood, clinical depression and fuzzy thinking.

6. Go east and your mood heads north. Spice is nice—as in, it can make you a nicer person! Curcumin, a staple in Indian curries and the pigment responsible for the bright yellow color of the spice turmeric, has natural antidepressant qualities and has been shown in animal studies to protect neurons from the damaging effects of chronic stress. Other animal research has linked curcumin to an increase in the brain chemicals serotonin and dopamine, both key components of a bright outlook.