Food and Mood

What you put into your body can affect how you feel.

Certain foods contain nutrients and vitamins that can boost brain health and improve our mood.

Here are some of the best foods to make you feel good.

Colourful fruits and vegetables

Many fruits and vegetables contain what’s known as ‘complex carbohydrates’, which are great for brain health. By releasing energy into our bodies slowly, complex carbohydrates found in fruit and veg can increase mood over time.

Many coloured fruits and vegetables also contain antioxidants and vitamins which help us deal with stress. So, if you’re feeling a bit stressed, upping your fruit and veg intake could help you feel better.

Think leafy greens like kale and spinach, crisp carrots and apples, and brightly coloured capsicums and bananas. Fruit and veg like this are great for healthy snacks, or in salads, soups, stews, and sandwiches.

Whole grains

Whole grains are high in fibre and good for you! These include things like corn, brown rice, quinoa, oats, rye, and barley.

Whole grains contain a type of amino acid that makes your body produce ‘serotonin’ – also known as the “happy chemical”! Serotonin helps calm the mind, improve your mood, and keep your sleep cycle on track – all of which is helpful for maintaining a good headspace.

If you’re feeling down or low on energy, eating some brown rice, corn, or quinoa can help release more of the happy chemical into your body. You could even start your day off with a healthy bowl of oats for a wholegrain booster.

Fermented foods

Fermented foods like unsweetened (natural) yoghurts, kimchi, kombucha and sauerkraut are thought to affect the same parts of your brain as some anti-depressants do.

The good bacteria found in fermented foods has a positive influence on our mood and emotions.

Research has linked our gut health to our mental health, and the probiotics and prebiotics in fermented foods actively affect the environment of our tummies.

A healthier tummy means a healthier mind!! It makes for a great snack, breakfast, or healthy dessert option with fruit. Just be sure to avoid the kind with lots of added sugar.


Oily fish like salmon, trout and prawns contain a fatty acid known as DHA which is good ‘brain food’! It helps with memory and can boost your mood and reduce anxiety.

Fish also contains omega 3 acids which are great for brain function and help circulate serotonin and dopamine – ‘the feel-good chemicals’ – around your body.

Tinned fish can be cheaper and easier to buy and can still have the same effect on your mental health. You can include fish into salads, wraps, pasta dishes and heaps more. By eating more fish, you’ll be helping improve feelings of depression while boosting your memory ability.

Cutting back on other stuff

There are certain types of foods that can do the opposite. You may choose to avoid having too much of these if you are going through a tough time.

These include:

  • Sugar – this is highly addictive and does the opposite to what complex carbohydrates do for us. Cutting back on sugary foods and drinks can be a great step towards feeling better.
  • Alcohol – drinking lots of alcohol can have a negative effect on mental health. Alcohol can interrupt sleep patterns and affect your ability to focus. 
  • Saturated fats – this is the oily stuff you expect from takeaway foods and processed meals. These bad fats can decrease brain function and make it harder to focus and remember things.

For more information on the link between good food and good mood, or for help with cutting back on drugs and alcohol, get in touch.

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