The Role of Nutrition in Mental Health: Foods That Support Emotional Wellbeing.

In our fast-paced world, where stress seems to be an inevitable companion, taking care of our mental health has become more important than ever. While therapy, exercise, and mindfulness practices are often recommended for maintaining emotional wellbeing, we often overlook one crucial aspect: nutrition. What we eat directly impacts not only our physical health but also our mental and emotional states. In this blog, we’ll delve into the fascinating connection between nutrition and mental health, exploring foods that support emotional wellbeing.

The relationship between our diet and our mental health is complex. However, research shows a link between what we eat and how we feel.

Eating well can help you feel better. You don’t have to make big changes to your diet, but see if you can try some of these tips.

  • Eat regularly – This can stop your blood sugar level from dropping, which can make you feel tired and bad-tempered.
  • Stay hydrated – Even mild dehydration can affect your mood, energy level and ability to concentrate.
  • Eat the right balance of fats – Your brain needs healthy fats to keep working well. They’re found in things such as olive oil, rapeseed oil, nuts, seeds, oily fish, avocados, milk and eggs. Avoid trans fats – often found in processed or packaged foods – as they can be bad for your mood and your heart health.
  • Include more whole grains, fruits and vegetables in your diet – They contain the vitamins and minerals your brain and body need to stay well.
  • Include some protein with every meal – It contains an amino acid that your brain uses to help regulate your mood.
  • Look after your gut health Your gut can reflect how you’re feeling: it can speed up or slow down if you’re stressed. Healthy food for your gut includes fruit, vegetables, beans and probiotics.
  • Be aware of how caffeine can affect your mood – It can cause sleep problems, especially if you drink it close to bedtime, and some people find it makes them irritable and anxious too. Caffeine is found in coffee, tea, cola, energy drinks and chocolate.

The science behind food and mood

The link between diet and emotions, stems from the close relationship between your brain and your gastrointestinal tract, often called the “second brain.”

Here’s how it works: Your GI tract is home to billions of bacteria that influence the production of chemical substances that constantly carry messages from the gut to the brain. Two common examples of this are dopamine and serotonin.

Eating nutritionally dense food promotes the growth of “good” bacteria, which in turn positively affects the production of these chemicals. When production is optimal, your brain receives these positive messages loud and clear, and your mental state can reflect it. On the other hand, when production goes awry, so might your mood.

Sugar, in particular, is considered a major culprit of inflammation. It feeds “bad” bacteria in the GI tract. Ironically, it can also cause a temporary spike in “feel good” chemicals like dopamine. “You don’t want that either”, says Dr. Fernandez-Turner. “These spikes result in a fleeting sugar rush, followed by a hard crash.”

When you stick to a diet of nutrient-rich foods, you’re setting yourself up for fewer mood swings and an improved ability to focus. Studies have even found that clean diets consisting of mainly whole, unprocessed foods, can help with symptoms of depression and anxiety.


In summary, the journey to optimal mental health involves more than just therapy and medication; it encompasses the food we consume daily. Recognizing the profound influence of nutrition on our emotional wellbeing empowers us to make mindful choices in our diets. By incorporating foods known to support mental health, such as omega-3 fatty acids, leafy greens, and probiotics, we take proactive steps toward fostering a positive mood and reducing the risk of mental health disorders. Let’s embrace the role of nutrition in nurturing our minds, understanding that small dietary changes can lead to significant improvements in our overall mental wellness.

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