Food for Your Mood

We all know that when we eat better, we feel better. When we eat healthy foods, we have more energy, fewer aches and pains and are less susceptible to colds. We’ve all heard about heart-healthy diets and low-sugar diabetic diets but eating for brain health? Have you ever heard that the food you eat could be making you depressed?

Well, there is mounting evidence that nutrition plays a significant role in depression, anxiety and other mental disorders. According to a study published in 2008, “nutrition can play a key role in the onset as well as the severity and duration of depression.” In a randomized control study, the ‘SMILES’ study, research indicated that nutritional interventions in depression showed significantly better outcomes for the dietary control group than for the social

support control group.

So, what does this mean in real life? It means we should be eating foods that feed our brains. Foods that help use “make” the neurotransmitters that keep our brains functioning at their best. Foods high in B vitamins, fatty acids and amino acids like tryptophan, tyrosine, phenylalanine.

So, what does THAT mean in real life? It means we need to eat cold water fish like salmon and tuna, legumes like pinto and white beans and lentils, chicken and turkey and whole grains like wild rice, quinoa and kamut.

What is that? You already eat chicken and turkey? Right, but how is that prepared? Processed and fried chicken doesn’t count as brain food. Eating the right foods prepared in healthy recipes may deliver the medicine your brain needs to keep you feeling energized, engaged and healthy.

End Notes

  1. T. S. Sathyanarayana Rao, M. R. Asha,1 B. N. Ramesh,2 and K. S. Jagannatha Rao2, “Understanding nutrition, depression and mental illness”, Indiana Journal of Psychiatry, 2008.
  2. Felice N. Jacka, Adrienne O’Neil, Rachelle Opie, Catherine Itsiopoulos, Sue Cotton, Mohammedreza Mohebbi, David Castle, Sarah Dash, Cathrine Mihalopoulos, Mary Lou Chatterton, Laima Brazionis, Olivia M. Dean, Allison M. Hodge and Michael Berk, “A randomized controlled trial of dietary improvement for adults with major despression” (the ‘SMILES’ trial), BMC Medicine, 2017

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