eating right can improve your mood

How eating right can improve your mood


Most of us have experienced a “high” after eating a high sugar meal, or drinking a soft drink. Then a few hours later, we may swing to the opposite, and feel sleepy or even depressed.

So we recognize that foods can change our moods, but what about more subtle, long-term changes? Can eating different foods affect our overall mood? This is the basis of the new field of “nutritional psychiatry”, that proposes that eating the right foods can help decrease depression and anxiety.

One leader in this growing field is Dr. Drew Ramsey, assistant professor of psychiatry at Columbia University (New York). He believes that by eating foods that are brain healthy, people can significantly decrease their depression. While depressed people may still need talk therapy or medications, if they eat the right foods, their recovery will be faster and more complete.

For example, one of his favorite foods is oysters. Rich in vitamin B-12 and long chain omega-3 fatty acids, multiple research studies support that foods high in these nutrients can boost our mood. Deficiencies have been linked to depression and a higher risk of suicide.

But the good news is that to improve your mood, you don’t need to necessarily eat oysters. Research show that more common foods—in particular, fruits and vegetables—are mood boosters, and that the positive effects may be felt within 2 weeks of staring a better diet.

Dr. Ramsey says that it is ironic that most adults are overfed in calories but starved of the nutrients that our brain most needs. A recent US study showed that only 10% of adults are eating the minimum suggested amounts of fruits and vegetables.

What the research shows

Research on diet and mental functioning is difficult to do, since so many other factors are part of the equation of how we feel. But studies have been done, many from Australia and New Zealand. Most of these studies concluded that the more fresh fruits and vegetables consumed, the better the mental well-being. Interestingly, eating canned fruits and vegetables did not give the same benefits. Apparently some of the nutrients in fresh products are degraded in the canning process, which requires high temperatures.

In particular, the Mediterranean diet—rich in whole grains, seafood, olive oil, and nuts—may give the best results in decreasing depression and calming anxieties. Research has shown that people can feel better within 2 weeks of staring a better diet—signficantly more fruits and vegetables.

If you read many of our posts, you know we often encourage people to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. It may sound repetitive that we are proposing the same diet for people who want to improve their mood. But those are the facts. It’s worth the effort to eat more of these fruits and vegetable that we are always talking about. It won’t only help clean your cardiovascular system and keep your weight under control. It is likely that it will help improve your mood as well.

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See also in ProcuraMed:

Weight training may be effective treatment for depression

Meditation for people who don’t like meditation

Esta postagem também está disponível em: Portuguese (Brazil)

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This post is related to specialty Psychiatry. Below is a list of some physicians related to this specialty.