Food And Mood- Influence Of Food On Mental Health

Pooja Venkataramana
May 18, 2019   •  75 views

Have you wondered when you walk into your home after a bad day at school looking all gloomy and sad, the first question your mother would ask is ‘DID YOU EAT?’ A good hot meal can make us feel so much better. Food that we intake has a greater influence on us and our mental health. Let us look into some established research facts of how food can influence our mood.

Never Skip Breakfast

Eating breakfast regularly can not only produce energy throughout the day but can also make us feel at peace. Skipping breakfast can cause anxiety and tiredness.

NO CARBS diet is a big NO NO

Although no carbohydrates diet is followed by a lot of people in weight management, According to researchers from Arizona State University, it was found that a very low carbohydrate (ketogenic) diet can cause fatigue and lower moods.Eating a good amount of carbohydrates can enhance the tryptophan entering the brain. Serotonin, which we all know is a mood regulator, and is secreted naturally in the brain from tryptophan along with the B vitamins.

Fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains are smart carbohydrate choices we can make.

Omega 3 fatty acid

It is a popular talk that Omega 3 fatty acid can aid in curing depression or preventing it to some extent. Although there are a lot of different opinions and evidence on it. It does aid in the enhancement of mood.

It is found in fish, walnuts, chia seeds and flax seeds.


In a study by the Nestlé Research Center in Switzerland, researchers found that eating a little dark chocolate (1.4 ounces of it, to be exact) every day for two weeks reduced the levels of cortisol and other stress hormones in people who were highly stressed. It is also a popular fact that eating a small piece of chocolate before studying can improve attention


A few cups a week is fine but It is found that consuming excessive coffee is one of the contributory cause for anxiety and depression. Taking coffee in the morning without breakfast can make us feel jittery. Although it is very tough for a lot of people to cut down on coffee hence a moderate amount of consumption of coffee should be practised.

Fruits and vegetables

As cliché as it may sound fruits and vegetables are needed for overall good health both physically and mentally. One study in 2014 by Mental Health Foundation, found high levels of wellbeing were reported by individuals who ate more fruit and vegetables than who did not. Almost half of the proper nutrition can be attained by the intake of fruits and vegetables. Fruits are a wonderful substitute for unwanted sugary food. Dark leafy greens like spinach or beans and lentils, almonds are rich in magnesium, a mineral that, among other things, helps reduce anxiety. Children without proper nutrition are more prone to develop anxiety disorders and ADHD.

Junk food

Occasional intake is fine but junk consumed overall for a long time can yield no good and can lead to obesity. People who were obese had a 55% increased risk of developing depression over time, whereas people experiencing depression had a 58% increased risk of becoming obese. Lower self esteem and obesity has a relationship. Junk food is high in fat and sugar and can take quite a lot of time to digest. The heavy effort taken by the body to digest the food can make us lethargic and lazy. Hence junk food affects the mood negatively.

In a new study (by theAmerican Psychological Association) of 120 children and adolescents, consuming fast food, sugar and soft drinks was associated with a higher prevalence of diagnosed attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder

Always hold on to the regional diet

Yes, stick on to the food that is regionally available and is consumed since generations. If you are an Indian hold on to Indian food or if you are an Italian stick on to Italian food. Our body has a good capacity to digest the regional food and also it supports the climatic condition we are in. For eg: Sambar which is south Indian regional food is easily digestible and prevents constipation. And also it mainly suits the habitats of south India but may not be suitable for people of other countries. No constipating can definitely put us in a good mood. Trying different cuisines is fine but the consumption of regular food should be regional.

Occasional Cheat- Meal is ok

Having a cheat meal occasionally is fine. Sunday Binges are fine provided we burn the calories during the week. Trying to hold on to a strict diet can cause monotony and aversion to food. So it is essential to indulge in a cheat meal or what few people call as having soul food, occasionally.

But what about people who have cheat meal all day every day?

When we are so concerned about how we look outward how much should we care about what we intake.
After all, we are what we eat.



Profile of Pooja Venkataramana
Pooja Venkataramana  •  1y  •  Reply
Thanks Rashika
Profile of Rashika Maithani
Rashika Maithani  •  1y  •  Reply
Truly amazing content Have a must read on my articles tooo