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Food and Your Mood

Updated on July 6, 2010

Have you ever stopped to think about how you feel after you eat? Maybe you've noticed you feel lethargic after a high-fat meal. You may even feel sick after eating something out of the ordinary. Research is showing that the foods you eat are linked to your mood.

In a 2009 study, participants who closely followed the Mediterranean diet were 58% less likely to develop depression. The Mediterranean diet includes fruits, vegetables, fish, legumes, and nuts. It limits red meat, alcohol, and dairy. Furthermore, a 2010 study in which researchers observed more than 1,000 women, found that a diet full of processed and fried food, high sugar foods, and beer was associated with more symptoms of depression.

Foods to Improve Mood

Healthy Carbohydrates

There are good carbs and not-so-good carbs. Good carbs include, whole-wheat bread, oatmeal, and brown rice. Good carbs are usually high in fiber and promote the feeling of fullness. Your blood sugar won't spike, then crash after eating these carbs. Therefore, your mood stays stable. Not-so-good carbs are the processed kind like chips, cookies, white bread, crackers, etc.


Protein contains amino acids that act as neurotransmitters and keep your mind alert. Good sources of protein include poultry, lean meat, beans, and fatty fish.

Water and Tea

Simply by staying well hydrated, your mood will remain positive. Water is the best way to keep your body hydrated. Tea and especially green tea may have additional mood benefits. 

Foods to Avoid


Alcohol is a depressant and it falls under the not-so-good carbs category. If you drink, do it in moderation.


Too much coffee, soda, or even energy drinks can make you feel anxious.

Red Meat

Read meat for most Americans means beef. Consumption of red meat has been linked to an increased risk of developing depression.


While sweets might make you happy while you are eating them, they inevitably provide a temporary mood boost that ends up with a drop in blood sugar, and consequently, a drop in mood.


The next time you aren't feeling 100%, consider what you ate or have been eating recently. The better the quality of your food, the better your performance will be. You can never go wrong with fresh fruits and vegetables. When you load up on the healthy items the majority of the time, you'll feel your best.


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    • mixfitness profile image

      mixfitness 7 years ago from Round Hill, VA

      Thanks for leaving a comment, Jill of Alltrades!

    • jill of alltrades profile image

      jill of alltrades 7 years ago from Philippines

      Great tips!

      Thanks for sharing!