By Cherisse Doobay MSc.
One of the first things I ask people about when they start working with me is their nutrition – why would a therapist do that? There is a strong connection between the food we eat and our mood. The relationship between diet and mood is complex, and the specific effects of different food on mood can vary from person to person. However, research has shown that certain dietary patterns and nutrients can have a significant impact on our mental health, most notably depression and anxiety symptoms.
One important factor is the balance of nutrients in our diet. A diet that is high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins, and low in processed and sugary foods, is generally considered to be healthy and can have a positive effect on mood. These types of foods provide the body with the necessary nutrients it needs to function properly, including essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. On the other hand, a diet high in processed and sugary foods can lead to fluctuations in blood sugar levels and contribute to feelings of irritability, fatigue, and low mood.
Another factor that can affect mood is the presence of certain nutrients in the diet. For example, omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fatty fish and certain plant-based sources, have been shown to have a positive effect on mood and cognitive function. Similarly, vitamin B12, which is found in animal products, has been linked to improved mood and cognitive function.
In addition to the types and balance of nutrients in our diet, the overall quality of our diet can also have an impact on our mood. Research has shown that following a healthy, balanced diet can lead to improved mood and cognitive function, while a diet high in unhealthy foods can have the opposite effect.
It is important to remember that the relationship between nutrition and mood is complex, and the specific effects of different foods on mood can vary from person to person. However, following a healthy, balanced diet and getting adequate nutrients can have a positive impact on mood and overall well-being. So, the next time you’re feeling down, grab a broccoli crown!
Cherisse is an integrative therapist and cognitive nutrition practitioner with a specialty in addictions for 17 years. She works with individuals, couples, and families to address a multitude of issues such as relationships, stress, depression, anxiety, trauma, depression, anxiety, and addictions.
- Harvard Medical School (February 15, 2021) “Food and Mood: Is there a connection?” https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/food-and-mood-is-there-a-connection
- Firth, J, Gangswisch, J., Borsini, A., Wooton, R, Mayer.E. (November 9, 2020) “Food and mood: how do diet and nutrition affect mental wellbeing?” https://www.bmj.com/content/369/bmj.m2382