Mood, Stress, and Depression – Do Diets Affect Mental Health?


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Eating right can improve your mood, reduce stress, and even combat depression. It also protects you from harmful dieting messages. In this article, we’ll discuss the best foods for mental wellness. But what exactly is intuitive eating? Mood, Stress, and Depression: Do Diets Affect Mental Health? We’ll also talk about what we should and shouldn’t eat. Read on to learn more.

Eating Linked to Stress

Research shows that eating and stress are closely connected. The foods we eat not only provide energy and nourish the body, but they also create chemical messengers that keep our system functioning. Luckily, there is a way to balance both stress and food. Clinical dietitian Kathryn Munder explains how these two factors interact. Among the 8 food groups, nuts are the most associated with mental health. Moreover, they also increase the likelihood of developing diabetes.

children eating lunch


There’s an interesting relationship between diet and depression. Eating a diet rich in antioxidants can help reduce symptoms of depression. Increasing your intake of soy and plant-based foods can also help. Eating foods high in vitamin B-12 and folate, which protect the brain and nervous system, can also help prevent or relieve symptoms of depression. You can buy vitamins and minerals from health food stores and incorporate them into your diet.


Diet affects many aspects of health, including weight, athletic performance, and risk for chronic diseases. Many people don’t realize that diet may also affect one’s mental health. We’ll look at the science behind nutrition-related topics and debunk common myths about food and mental health. While there’s a complex relationship between diet and mental health, there are certain foods that are known to have positive effects on mood.

Foods Which Influence Positive Mood

Omega-3 fatty acids

While there are no scientific studies concluding that omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial for the mental health of people suffering from depression, there are some promising results. In one small study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, 81 people at high risk for developing schizophrenia were given omega-3 supplements for 12 weeks. Only 28% of the placebo group developed the disorder, while 5% of those taking omega-3 supplements did. This study has the potential to prevent the development of full-blown psychotic disorders.

Whole grains

One study found that consuming a healthy amount of whole grains was associated with improved mood in women, but not in men. In the same study, a low-carbohydrate diet was linked to lower levels of GABA, a mood-enhancing neurotransmitter. However, there is still more to the benefits of whole grains than just their mood-boosting effects. Eating a variety of whole grains may also promote improved digestive health, which in turn is helpful for overall mental health.


The recent research on the mental health benefits of fish has uncovered a fascinating link between eating salmon and having lower levels of depression. Omega-3 fatty acids from salmon are known to reduce inflammation and promote proper brain function. The fatty acids also regulate neurotransmitters and help reduce spikes in cortisol and adrenaline. The findings were derived from meta-analyses of 26 studies involving more than 150,000 people and 10 studies in Europe.

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