Nutrition and mood


The fact is that food is associated with mood and by extension our mental health with bidirectional manner.

For example if we have a bad mood or bad psychology may resort to food to feel better. The food itself improves mood because neurotransmitter secreted in the brain associated with mood! Of course when we come to eat systematically seeking a way from our poor psychology actually get into a vicious circle: bad mood because of problems overeating → → bad mood due to weight gain.

On the other hand when we’re in a good mood again may end up eating more because our good moments (celebration, wedding, social gatherings, etc.) involves food of which sometimes depends on the size of pleasure!



But what are those nutrients from foods that contribute to good mood and psychology? 

There is a substance tyrosine contained in egg, cheese, meat, fish and seafood that help increase levels of dopamine and epinephrine, two substances that improve mood.

Also, foods that contain carbohydrates (fruits, rice, pasta, potatoes) are known to enhance mood in the production of serotonin in the brain, a substance that causes a feeling of relaxation.

Similarly and vitamin D in milk, cheese and yogurt as well as folic acid contained primarily in spinach, and orange help to increase serotonin levels. So is tryptophan contained in chocolate.

The omega-3 fats contained in fish and nuts appears to play an important role in maintaining good mental state because it has been found that in individuals suffering from depression content of cell membranes in omega-3 is low!

Even selenium contained mainly in cereals and sunflower appears that helps treat anxiety crisis, while tea besides containing antioxidants with a major activity in the organism appears to help in reducing cortisol levels of a hormone known as the hormone of stress .

Finally, alcohol consumption appears to have mild relaxing effect and beneficial effect on human psychology. Instead excessive consumption may just bring the opposite results.

What to avoid

Caffeine: excessive consumption can cause nervousness

Alcohol: large amounts may increase anxiety and cause sleep disorders

Nicotine: actually increases anxiety levels


1) The food when consumed in the right quantities alone improves mood (secreted neurotransmitters)
2) Tyrosine (egg, cheese, meat, fish, seafood) (help increase dopamine and epinephrine)
3) Carbohydrates (fruits, rice, pasta, potatoes) (during decomposition of serotonin produced aisthima of relaxation)
4) Vitamin D (milk, cheese, yogurt) (help increase serotonin levels)
5) omega-3 fats (fish, nuts) (low cell membranes people suffering from depression)
6) Folic acid (spinach, orange, banana) (a shortage caused reduction of serotonin levels)
7) Tryptophan (chocolate) (metabolized to niacin and serotonin)
8) Selenium (cereals, sunflower seeds) helps treat anxiety attacks
9) Tea (decrease in cortisol levels in drinking 4 cups / day for 6 weeks)
10) Alcohol in small quantities (up to one glass of wine for women and 2 glasses for men)

Nutritional Unit Dietnet
Balamoti D. Christina
Clinical Nutritionist Dietitian
Honors Harokopio University of Athens

Leave a Reply

Open Close