The connection between wellbeing, food & mood. What we eat matters for our mental wellbeing. Stay tuned to see which foods are connected to for example anxiety!



Food & mood: How what we eat affects our mental wellbeing

The connection between wellbeing, food & mood. What we eat matters for our mental wellbeing. Stay tuned to see which foods are connected to for example anxiety!

September 21th, 2023

Wellbeing: Food & mood, things you didn’t know!

Wellbeing is important to everyone. Have you been feeling down or overly stressed lately? Don’t worry; that can happen to anyone. And while it’s always difficult to get out of a slump, the things you eat can either speed up or slow down the process. That’s because what we eat matters not only for our physical wellbeing but also for our mental wellbeing. So, food & mood, how are they related? In today’s article, we’re going to dive into the how’s and why’s of food’s effects on your body and give tips on adjusting your diet in order to feel your best.

Wellbeing: Food & Mood

What to eat to fight depression and anxiety

Food & mood relates to factors such as depression and anxiety. Of course, there are many factors (such as social circumstances, environment, stress, and/or genetics) that contribute to the development of depression and anxiety. Both are very serious and debilitating diseases, and they are becoming increasingly common. Studies suggest that 1 in 6 adults will experience depression at some point in their lives, and 1 in 5 will experience anxiety. More and more studies are searching for the link between what we eat and these disorders, with very surprising findings. Keep reading for a quick overview of the research that will help you gain the knowledge needed to take charge of your mental wellbeing. 1-2

Food & mood: The role of omega-3 for your wellbeing

Can you guess what the number one nutrient is to protect you against depression and anxiety? If you guessed omega-3, you are correct! Initially, researchers looked at different diets and the prevalence of depression or anxiety among those who practiced them. Western diets, with their high intake of processed foods, showed a higher risk. Meanwhile, Mediterranean diets were shown to have a lower risk. The researchers guessed that it must be linked to the individuals’ high fish consumption. That’s because fish, especially oily fish, is a great source of omega-3s. Omega-3 is important because it helps regulate chemicals in your brain that affect your mood, such as serotonin and dopamine. 3-4 So, food & mood has a very strong connection with omega-3.

Food & mood: Processed foods and inflammation

Food & mood obviously also relates to processed foods. On the other hand, eating too much of another type of fat, omega-6s, found in processed foods, can cause inflammation. Inflammation is when our bodies react to things that might harm us, like germs or injuries, but too much or misplaced inflammation can be bad for our wellbeing. By eating foods that contain omega-3s, we can help reduce inflammation while protecting our brains from depression and anxiety. So, if you can, make sure to up your intake of this powerhouse nutrient! If you’re not the biggest fan of fish, don’t fret – you can also get your omega-3 fix through some versatile seeds (flax seeds, chia seeds, and hemp seeds) and delicious nuts (walnuts), or you can opt for algae-based foods or supplements.  5-6

Food & mood: Vitamins are key

Food & mood also heavily relates to vitamins. Vitamin D deficiency is also closely linked to our mental health. We get this vitamin through the sun (hence why a nice, long walk has so many benefits) and some foods, specifically some types of mushrooms and fortified foods like milk and cereal. If you’re more of an indoor person, don’t worry – you can also supplement, but make sure to aim for at least 10 micrograms daily. Vitamin D is important for our brains because it activates a gene involved in making chemicals like dopamine and adrenaline. Without enough vitamin D, our bodies may have trouble making these chemicals. This affects our mood and increases the risk of depression and anxiety. Vitamin D might also affect how our nerves grow, which can impact our mental wellbeing as well. 7

Not to forget: Vitamin B9

Folate is the natural form of vitamin B9 and is found in many foods. Folate deficiency was also found to increase the risk of depression. That’s because folate increases the levels of a chemical called homocysteine, which really isn’t beneficial for your mental well-being. Great sources of folate that you can pile up on your plate include leafy greens, beets, asparagus, legumes, eggs, and citrus fruits. Or you can opt for the artificial form, called folic acid, that can be found in fortified foods and supplements. Whatever you choose to eat, make sure to also have a nice and healthy source of this brain-saving vitamin. 8

Vitamin C & anxiety

Individuals with anxiety tend to have lower levels of vitamin C, which is an important vitamin for our brain health as it’s a strong antioxidant that helps protect our brains from oxidative stress. Oxidative stress occurs when our bodies have too many unstable molecules (free radicals) that may damage our cells. Too much exposure to oxidative stress can affect our mood and increase our risk of anxiety and depression. What is more, vitamin C may also help regulate the levels of certain chemicals in our brains that affect our mood. But vitamin C truly works wonders – one recent study even found that after two weeks of supplementing with 500 mg of vitamin C, there was a decrease in anxiety symptoms among participants. You can get your fix of this vitamin from any fruit or vegetable, but especially citrus fruits, berries, and green leafy veggies like spinach. 9

Keep your brain healthy!

To sum up, if we want to stay happy and be in a good mood, it’s important to eat a variety of nutritious foods like the ones mentioned here. That way, we can get all the good stuff that will keep our brains healthy and help us thrive.

Happy Nation Blog

The connection between wellbeing, food & mood. What we eat matters for our mental wellbeing. Stay tuned to see which foods are connected to for example anxiety!

Food & mood: How what we eat affects our mental wellbeing

The connection between wellbeing, food & mood. What we eat matters for our mental wellbeing. Stay tuned to see which foods are connected to for example anxiety!

September 21th, 2023

Wellbeing: Food & mood, things you didn’t know!

Wellbeing is important to everyone. Have you been feeling down or overly stressed lately? Don’t worry; that can happen to anyone. And while it’s always difficult to get out of a slump, the things you eat can either speed up or slow down the process. That’s because what we eat matters not only for our physical wellbeing but also for our mental wellbeing. So, food & mood, how are they related? In today’s article, we’re going to dive into the how’s and why’s of food’s effects on your body and give tips on adjusting your diet in order to feel your best.

Wellbeing: Food & Mood

What to eat to fight depression and anxiety

Food & mood relates to factors such as depression and anxiety. Of course, there are many factors (such as social circumstances, environment, stress, and/or genetics) that contribute to the development of depression and anxiety. Both are very serious and debilitating diseases, and they are becoming increasingly common. Studies suggest that 1 in 6 adults will experience depression at some point in their lives, and 1 in 5 will experience anxiety. More and more studies are searching for the link between what we eat and these disorders, with very surprising findings. Keep reading for a quick overview of the research that will help you gain the knowledge needed to take charge of your mental wellbeing. 1-2

Food & mood: The role of omega-3 for your wellbeing

Can you guess what the number one nutrient is to protect you against depression and anxiety? If you guessed omega-3, you are correct! Initially, researchers looked at different diets and the prevalence of depression or anxiety among those who practiced them. Western diets, with their high intake of processed foods, showed a higher risk. Meanwhile, Mediterranean diets were shown to have a lower risk. The researchers guessed that it must be linked to the individuals’ high fish consumption. That’s because fish, especially oily fish, is a great source of omega-3s. Omega-3 is important because it helps regulate chemicals in your brain that affect your mood, such as serotonin and dopamine. 3-4 So, food & mood has a very strong connection with omega-3.

Food & mood: Processed foods and inflammation

Food & mood obviously also relates to processed foods. On the other hand, eating too much of another type of fat, omega-6s, found in processed foods, can cause inflammation. Inflammation is when our bodies react to things that might harm us, like germs or injuries, but too much or misplaced inflammation can be bad for our wellbeing. By eating foods that contain omega-3s, we can help reduce inflammation while protecting our brains from depression and anxiety. So, if you can, make sure to up your intake of this powerhouse nutrient! If you’re not the biggest fan of fish, don’t fret – you can also get your omega-3 fix through some versatile seeds (flax seeds, chia seeds, and hemp seeds) and delicious nuts (walnuts), or you can opt for algae-based foods or supplements.  5-6

Food & mood: Vitamins are key

Food & mood also heavily relates to vitamins. Vitamin D deficiency is also closely linked to our mental health. We get this vitamin through the sun (hence why a nice, long walk has so many benefits) and some foods, specifically some types of mushrooms and fortified foods like milk and cereal. If you’re more of an indoor person, don’t worry – you can also supplement, but make sure to aim for at least 10 micrograms daily. Vitamin D is important for our brains because it activates a gene involved in making chemicals like dopamine and adrenaline. Without enough vitamin D, our bodies may have trouble making these chemicals. This affects our mood and increases the risk of depression and anxiety. Vitamin D might also affect how our nerves grow, which can impact our mental wellbeing as well. 7

Not to forget: Vitamin B9

Folate is the natural form of vitamin B9 and is found in many foods. Folate deficiency was also found to increase the risk of depression. That’s because folate increases the levels of a chemical called homocysteine, which really isn’t beneficial for your mental well-being. Great sources of folate that you can pile up on your plate include leafy greens, beets, asparagus, legumes, eggs, and citrus fruits. Or you can opt for the artificial form, called folic acid, that can be found in fortified foods and supplements. Whatever you choose to eat, make sure to also have a nice and healthy source of this brain-saving vitamin. 8

Vitamin C & anxiety

Individuals with anxiety tend to have lower levels of vitamin C, which is an important vitamin for our brain health as it’s a strong antioxidant that helps protect our brains from oxidative stress. Oxidative stress occurs when our bodies have too many unstable molecules (free radicals) that may damage our cells. Too much exposure to oxidative stress can affect our mood and increase our risk of anxiety and depression. What is more, vitamin C may also help regulate the levels of certain chemicals in our brains that affect our mood. But vitamin C truly works wonders – one recent study even found that after two weeks of supplementing with 500 mg of vitamin C, there was a decrease in anxiety symptoms among participants. You can get your fix of this vitamin from any fruit or vegetable, but especially citrus fruits, berries, and green leafy veggies like spinach. 9

Keep your brain healthy!

To sum up, if we want to stay happy and be in a good mood, it’s important to eat a variety of nutritious foods like the ones mentioned here. That way, we can get all the good stuff that will keep our brains healthy and help us thrive.