Nutrition Nook: Foods for Moods: Foods for Moods

Fun Fact: Did you know that what we eat can have an effect on how we feel?

As university students, we juggle multiple components of our life at a time, and sometimes this can build up to a whole lot of stress and negatively impact our mood.

That’s why we wanted to let you know that not only does the food we consume affect our physical health, but also impacts our mental wellbeing.

There is no singular type of food that will boost our mood. A well-balanced, varied, and healthy diet can be positive in harnessing our ability to concentrate, manage our stress levels and increase our mood.

It is also important to know that our gut has a direct relationship with our brain. Keeping it happy means eating a wide variety of foods that will help with keeping a balanced mood. Research shows that consuming high amounts of processed foods, takeaway meals and sugary drinks can increase our likelihood of developing low moods, as these foods leave our body and brain feeling sluggish, causing brain fog and poor memory.

Here are some food tips to follow to help balance your mood:

1. Eat a variety of colours

Fill up your day with plenty of vegetables that represent all different types of colours; this means we are getting a variety of nutrients in that will help stabilise our blood sugar levels, supporting our energy: Try this for a day:

  • Purple: roast beetroot in some olive oil, honey, salt and pepper
  • Orange: grate carrots to bulk up your Bolognese sauces
  • Green: leafy greens such as kale, bok choy, cabbage, or spinach work great in a stir-fry with a mixture of hoisin and oyster sauce.
  • Red: add fresh cherry tomatoes to your toast in the morning with avocado and a scrambled egg.

2. Opt for healthier fat options

such as those found in avocados, sunflower seeds, walnuts and almost, olive oil, salmon, and fatty fish. Fats such as omega 3’s can be found in a wide range of salmon and fatty fish and are correlated with reduced inflammation that supports a healthy brain and mood.

3. Reduce sugary drinks

Consuming energy drinks that contain caffeine have been linked to increased stress, poor sleep levels and increases in poorer mood. Slowly make the swap and try herbal tea and water.

4. Eat less red meat

Reduce your red meat intake by opting for fish and white meats such as chicken and turkey. Additionally, adding more legumes such as chickpeas and lentils will increase your fibre consumption, meaning we have a happy gut that influences a good mood.

5. Mediterranean-style food

Think like the Greeks! Mediterranean eating habits consist of a wide variety of leafy greens, lean meat, extra-virgin olive oil, whole grains, beans, and nuts. Including more of these ingredients in our lifestyle can help reduce associated feelings of lower mood.

Help for low mood

If you are experiencing a low mood and not sure how to shake it, reach out to La Trobe’s support services in Health, Wellbeing and Inclusion. We have counsellors, mentors and peer support workers amongst other services to help support you.

Article sources: Better Health Vic, Total Wellbeing Diet