Did you know that food can boost your mood?! Yep, crazy!
Food can also decrease your mood… but that’s a story for another day!
There here has been a lot of interesting research into how food and mood interact, in particular the 2017 SMILES trial. Which studied whether improving your diet would improve depression.
About the study:
Participants in the SMILES trial were recruited from the community and reported experiencing depression symptoms
Half of the participants participated in a social support process while the other half altered their diet. The diet group met with an Accredited Practicing Dietitian for dietary education, support and nutritional counselling as well as followed a modified Mediterranean diet.
The trial found that the Mediterranean diet group had significantly greater improvement in their depressive symptoms over a 3 month period. So much so that 1/3 of the participants with serve depression went into remission, compared to 8 per cent of those in the social support group.
It was also found that these results were not explained by changes in physical activity or body weight. In other words, those who improved their diet the most experienced the greatest benefit to their depression.
Clearly, our gut and brain (mental health) are intertwined – what happens in our gut (eg what foods we eat) impacts our brain.
Instead of “we are what we eat”, it’s more like “we think what we eat”!
Top mood-boosting foods:
- Whole grains (oats, brown rice, whole-wheat e.g wholemeal flour, wholegrain pasta, wholegrain crackers, wholegrain bread)
- Nuts & seeds
- Olive oil
- Oily fish like salmon and sardines
- Beans, lentils and legumes
- Dark chocolate
- Fermented foods like yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut
If you’re interested in learning more about this and how much nutrition can impact our lives and mental health (even before we’re born) I have a great book recommendation for you – ‘Brain changer’ by Professor Felica Jacka is amazing!! (& not too sciencey).