Healthy Eating

Here you will find tons of information about healthy eating and incorporating the principles of healthy nutrition into your daily life. Built around Dr. Cederquist’s nutritional foundation for healthy weight loss, these articles place a wealth of information right at your fingertips.

Understanding How Food Affects Your Mood

Aside from life events and situations, food also plays a large part in both good and bad moods. In fact, these six ways that food affects your mood, continues to be explored by healthcare experts and researchers!


A bad day at work, a conflict with a family member, or dealing with a fender bender can all upset your mood while a joyous birthday celebration or work promotion stimulates uplifted feelings. But aside from life events and situations, food also plays a large part in both good and bad moods. In fact, these six ways that food affects your mood continues to be explored by healthcare experts and researchers!

6 Ways That Food Affects Mood

1. Poor Diet and Depression
Broadly speaking, a "poor diet" is consistent intake of calorically-dense food products loaded with sugar, fat, and salt. They further are generally absent of valuable nutrients the body utilizes to operate each day. Without the proper nutritional needs, the body may become affected, mood included. Not only is an unhealthful diet a risk factor for depression, but depressive symptoms include a change in appetite, each suggesting a link between diet and depression.

2. Food Addiction
It has been well-documented that foods (typically sugar) can be highly addictive. When sugar is consumed, it triggers the same pleasure centers the way drugs do. While drug use may appear much more dangerous, sugar and food addiction can be quite damaging. Though the effects of consistent sugar intake are mostly noticed physically, mental health can be severely compromised, especially when dealing with binge eating and weight gain.

3. Stress-Induced Eating
Stress can be quite difficult to with and the way it is dealt with varies among individuals. Stress can either completely inhibit appetite or exacerbate the drive for food binges, commonly on unhealthy food items rich in refined carbs, sugar, and fat. Stress-induced eating can swing back full circle after the underlying stress has subsided and create feelings of guilt following the binge, which may provoke supplementary stress.

But not all food factors lead to undesirable mood affects. Try these good mood foods and meals for a happier, healthier you!

4. Breakfast
Start the day off right! Consuming a healthful breakfast consistently shows to improve mood along with more energy throughout the day. Mostly recognized in school-aged children, consuming breakfast heightens levels of concentration. When breakfast is skipped, energy levels can become compromised and lead to fatigue throughout the day's entirety. Try these 11 high-protein, low-carb breakfast ideas you do not want to miss!

5. Tryptophan
Tryptophan is an amino acids produced into serotonin. Also known as the "feel good" hormone, the triggered brain chemical can initiate a calming sensation and may lessen depressive feelings. Interestingly, a high tryptophan diet is not necessarily the solution to heightened serotonin levels. Researchers suggest healthy carbs can aid in more efficient absorption of tryptophan-containing foods, including turkey, eggs, cheese, pineapples, nuts and seeds.

6. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Research has suggested the intake of omega-3 fatty acids may protect against depression, while other studies hint a strong association between the two may not exist. Despite inconsistency in the results, omega-3 fatty acids have shown to advocate both brain and heart health. Omega-3 fatty acids are mostly found in fatty fish (especially halibut, salmon, and tuna) along with flaxseed and walnuts.

In addition to a well-balanced diet, implement these strategies for the ultimate mood boost:

Whether exercising for body health or to fight off a stressful day, getting the body moving can certainly provide a mood boost. Ideally, you will never regret or feel worse following a workout, no matter what it consisted of. In addition to the initial feelings after completed exercise, long-term mental benefits follow and include alleviated depression symptoms.

Stress-Relieving Techniques
As mentioned in number three, stress can trigger stress-induced eating, further displaying negative consequences. Instead of managing feelings with foods, combat stress with relaxation techniques. Practicing yoga and meditation, listening to music, reading a book, and a simple walk are only a few stress-relieving techniques suggested to improve mood. Ultimately, practice stress-relieving techniques that work best for you.

Ever had a poor nights sleep and felt irritable, groggy, and fatigued the following day? And no matter how many coffee cups consumed, there was not a number high enough to shake off the consequences of the miniscule three hours of sleep the night before... Sleep has a significant impact on moods, both positive and negative. To foster an improved mood, the National Sleep Foundation recommends the average adult achieve seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Can't sleep? Try these healthy midnight snack ideas to cure your hunger!

Written By Sydney Lappe, MS, RDN. Published on May 18, 2017. Updated on September 14, 2019.


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