Diet can affect your mood.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Diets rich in whole foods (such as fruits and vegetables) have been shown to promote positive moods.
WHAT WE KNOW
Eating a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein gives your body the nutrients and energy it needs to functional optimally. Can this same diet attribute to your mood?
When you’re struggling with depressive symptoms, maintaining good eating habits may be difficult, but studies are showing that certain eating patterns may actually make you feel better emotionally. Regardless of the studies, eating a balanced diet of whole, nutritious foods may improve your mood for several reasons:
- You’ll have more energy because you won’t be eating empty-calorie foods
- Your body will get the nutrients it needs to run most optimally
- Over time, eating a balanced diet that’s low in fat and saturated fat can lead to weight maintenance/loss
- You won’t feel guilty when you eat nutritious, whole foods
There are so many physical and mental benefits to eating a diet rich in whole foods.
HOW DO WE KNOW THIS?
A recent study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry reported that individuals eating a diet rich in whole foods were less likely to report feelings of depression than those who ate lots of desserts, fried foods, processed meats, refined grains and high-fat dairy products. After five (5) years, the study determined that a processed food dietary eating pattern is a risk factor for depression, whereas a whole food eating pattern is a protective measure for depression.¹
Another article published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that a diet with high intakes of fruits, vegetables, and soy products was associated with fewer depressive symptoms. The study contributed these results to a cumulative effort of the antioxidants in fruits and vegetables as well as the omega-3 fatty acids in fish.²
We’ve all turned to food after a bad day but instead of reaching for whatever seems soothing, eat food that may actually lift your spirits! A diet that promotes a healthy lifestyle is going to promote a positive outlook on life too! Your clothes are going to fit better, you’ll have more energy, and you won’t feel guilty about what you’re eating.
Leading a healthy lifestyle equipped with a healthy diet (rich in fruits and vegetables) and being physically active is just another aspect of your life you can be proud of! So while more studies need to be done to determine if it is the food itself that enhances your mood or the results of a certain eating pattern, we do know a healthy diet has many benefits to offer!
¹ Akbaraly, TN, et al. “Dietary Patterns and Depressive Symptoms in Middle Age.” British Journal of Psychiatry 2009; 195(5): 403-13.
² Nanri, A, et al. “Dietary Patterns and Depressive Symptoms Among Japanese Men and Women.” European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2010; doi:10.1038/ejcn.2010.86.