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Can Food Affect Your Mood?

Depression, nutrition | July 14, 2017 | Author: Naturopath


Can Food Affect Your Mood?

Depression is the second cause of disability in the world is thought to affect millions every year. In Australia, around 1 in 6 women and 1 in 8 men experience some level of depression.

Can Food Affect Your Mood?

Nutrition is highly connected with depression. Research shows that the Western Diet, characterised by high intake of processed or fried foods, refined grains, sugary products, and alcohol, is associated with the risk of developing depression. In contrast, a healthy diet - high in plant foods, such as vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains, olive oil and fish - reduces the risk of depression and can improve depressive symptoms.

Foods for your Mood

Fermented foods

These include: yoghurt, kefir, tempeh, sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, etc.
You have probably heard of the term ‘probiotics’ – the type of good bacteria defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as ‘Live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host’.Can Food Affect Your Mood? fermented foods

Although the link between gut bacteria and the brain are not completely understood, studies found that patients with mood disorders have different composition of bacteria in their gut when compared with healthy controls.

Naturally fermented foods and beverages contain probiotic microorganisms that have been associated with many health benefits, and can influence both the composition and diversity of your gut bacteria.


These healthy nuts contain significant amounts of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants that are beneficial for our brain. Healthy male college students who consumed a walnut diet for 8 weeks in the form of banana bread with walnuts experienced improved mood. Interestingly though, female participants did not observe any mood changes.


Fish is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. The two main types of omega-3 fatty acid; eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which are found in very high concentration in the human brain and are involved in its function. Studies found omega-3 fatty acid concentrations to be lower in the blood of patients with depression, and intake of fish has been shown to improve symptoms of depression. Fish is also rich in tyrosine, a precursor of brain neurotransmitters that influence mood and stress, including dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine.

Fruit and vegetables

A study in four south Asian countries found that those who consumed less than five servings of fruit and vegetables per day were at higher risk of depression. Antioxidants, present in fruit and vegetables, protect us from oxidative stress and inflammation, both associated with depression. For highest levels of antioxidants, choose colourful fruits and vegetables such as dark leafy greens (e.g. spinach and kale), beetroot, blueberries, cherries, pomegranate, plus garlic, onions, and tomatoes.

Dark chocolate

You will be pleased to know that -

Chocolate makes people happy

Australian scientists found that polyphenols in cocoa increase sense of calmness and contentedness.

In the study, seventy-two healthy adults received different doses of a dark chocolate drink. After 30 days, those who drank the highest dose reported greater calmness.


Supplements for Your Mood

Magnesium, calcium, iron, and zinc. Some studies show that intake of these minerals is associated with improved mood.

Fish oil. Results from studies are mixed, however some studies have suggested that intake of fish oil supplements can reduce the risk of depression.

Vitamins B: folate, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12. Intake of these 3 vitamins has been shown to reduce symptoms of depression.

Vitamin D. low levels of vitamin D are associated with clinically significant depressive symptoms.Can Food Affect Your Mood?curcumin

Curcumin. Curcumin, the yellow-coloured phytochemical that is thought to be the primary active compound in turmeric, is a potent anti-inflammatory compound. Patients with major depressive disorder who took curcumin supplements reported an antidepressant effect, similar to that of a standard antidepressant medication.

Complimentary Treatment

Don't forget to add-in those Mind-body activities which can help elevate the mood.

For example:

  • Stress and relaxation techniques - such as dancing, tai chi, meditation, massage or yoga.
  • Acupuncture
  • Guided imagery
  • Music or art therapy
  • Exercise  Australia’s best online discount chemist


Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2008). National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 2007. Cat. no. (4326.0). Canberra: ABS

Bishwajit, G., O’Leary, D. P., Ghosh, S., et al. (2017). Association between depression and fruit and vegetable consumption among adults in South Asia. BMC Psychiatry, 17(1), 15.

Health and Nutritional Properties of Probiotics in Food Including Powder Milk with Live Lactic Acid Bacteria. Available online: http:// 

(accessed on 4 July 2017)

Huang, R., Wang, K., & Hu, J. (2016). Effect of Probiotics on Depression: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Nutrients, 8(8).

Jacka, F. N., O’Neil, A., Opie, R., et al. (2017). A randomised controlled trial of dietary improvement for adults with major depression (the “SMILES” trial). BMC Medicine, 15(1), 23.

Jacka, F. N., Pasco, J. A., Mykletun, A., et al. (2010). Association of Western and Traditional Diets With Depression and Anxiety in Women. American Journal of Psychiatry, 167(3), 305–311.

Jiang, H., Ling, Z., Zhang, Y., et al. (2015). Altered fecal microbiota composition in patients with major depressive disorder. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 48, 186–194.

Kerr, D. C. R., Zava, D. T., Piper, W. T., et al. (2015). Associations between vitamin D levels and depressive symptoms in healthy young adult women. Psychiatry Research, 227(1), 46–51.

Lang, U. E., Beglinger, C., Schweinfurth, N., et al. (2015). Nutritional aspects of depression. Cellular Physiology and Biochemistry : International Journal of Experimental Cellular Physiology, Biochemistry, and Pharmacology, 37(3), 1029–43.

Lim, S. Y., Kim, E. J., Kim, A., et al. (2016). Nutritional Factors Affecting Mental Health. Clinical Nutrition Research, 5(3), 143–52.

Pase, M. P., Scholey, A. B., Pipingas, A., et al. (2013). Cocoa polyphenols enhance positive mood states but not cognitive performance: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 27(5), 451–458.

Pribis, P. (2016). Effects of Walnut Consumption on Mood in Young Adults-A Randomized Controlled Trial. Nutrients, 8(11).

Reddy, M. S. (2010). Depression: the disorder and the burden. Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine, 32(1), 1–2.

Sanmukhani, J., Satodia, V., Trivedi, J., et al. (2014). Efficacy and Safety of Curcumin in Major Depressive Disorder: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Phytotherapy Research, 28(4), 579–585.

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