A Complete Guide to Improving Your Mood With Food

Better food and eating habits are what improved my mood and energy levels, and ignited my personal growth.

A woman with a shopping bag filled with healthy food slung over her shoulder.
A woman with a shopping bag filled with healthy food slung over her shoulder.
Image credit: DragonImages.
Table of Contents
01. My Results
02. My Story
03. Why Food Can Improve Your Mood
04. How Food Affects Your Brain and Mood
05. Why Your Serotonin Levels Could Be Low
06. How Sugar and Other Carbs Affect Your Mood
07. Which Carbs to Pick
08. How to Increase Your Fiber Intake
09. How to Balance Your Blood Sugar Levels
10. What Inflammation Has to Do with Your Mood
11. How to Use Food to Reduce Inflammation
12. How Gut Health Affects Your Mood
13. How to Improve Your Digestion and Maintain a Healthy Gut
14. Before You Start, Wait!
15. How to Be Your Own Food Detective
16. Lessons Learned
17. The Most Important Eating Habits for Good Mood
18. What About Beverages and Drinks
19. What About Supplements
20. The Other Factors Affecting Our Mood
21. Final Thoughts

My Story

little girl looking at the camera, black and white photo
little girl looking at the camera, black and white photo
Photo by Thomas Park on Unsplash

“What you eat can change how you feel.”

Food platter with cheese, olives and crackers
Food platter with cheese, olives and crackers
Photo by Liz Joseph on Unsplash

Why Food Can Improve Your Mood

“The time is now right for nutrition to become a mainstream, everyday component of mental health care, and a regular factor in mental health promotion.” Dr. Andrew McCulloch, The Mental Health Foundation, UK

drawing of a brain with text on top sayiong ingredients liek wter, fat, protein
drawing of a brain with text on top sayiong ingredients liek wter, fat, protein
Feeding Minds

How Food Affects Your Brain and Mood

Image for post
Image for post
Source: Feeding Minds

Why Your Serotonin Levels Could Be Low

How

Instead

Approach

How Sugar and Other Carbs Affect Your Mood

Blood sugar balance

a graph showing how our blood sugar goes up and down depending on what we eat
Daily Health Post

Sugar and your brain

Instead

“Supplying brain energy is a delicate balancing act. Give it too little fuel, and you feel lightheaded, spacey, and irritable. Give it too much, and you feel lethargic and drowsy.” Datis Kharrazian, Ph.D., Harvard Medical School

Which Carbs to Pick

Simple carbs

Complex carbs

Starchy carbs

Fiber

display of green leafy veggies
display of green leafy veggies
Photo by Lou Liebau on Unsplash

How to Increase Your Fiber Intake

Note on fiber

How to Balance Your Blood Sugar Levels

Eating regularly and not skipping meals

Choosing foods that will release energy slowly

Observing how you feel after consuming certain foods

Adding protein to your breakfast

Look for alternatives to refined sugars and processed snacks

embroidered heart made of red threads on a white and box of rainbow colored threads next to it on the right side
embroidered heart made of red threads on a white and box of rainbow colored threads next to it on the right side
Photo by Magdaline Nicole from Pexels

What Inflammation Has to Do with Your Mood

“There is growing evidence that inflammation can exacerbate or even give rise to depressive symptoms.

— Marwa Azab, Ph.D.

How to Use Food to Reduce Inflammation

Add more anti-inflammatory foods

girl eating with eyes closed in a cafe
girl eating with eyes closed in a cafe
Photo by Pablo Merchán Montes on Unsplash

How Gut Health Affects Your Mood

“Since the gut and brain are connected, and gut bacteria produce substances that can influence the brain, probiotics may benefit the brain and mental health. Probiotics that benefit mental health have been called psychobiotics.”

Ruairi Robertson, Ph.D.

How to Improve Your Digestion and Maintain a Healthy Gut

Chew the food well and slow

Start including quality fiber into your diet

Increase the variety of fruits and vegetables

“Good gut bacteria or the absence of some bad ones can make us more resilient to depressive states after stressors or trauma.”Marwa Azab, Ph.D.

Note on gut health

blue green wooden sign saying stop
blue green wooden sign saying stop
Photo by Jose Aragones on Unsplash

Before You Start, Wait!

All or nothing and step by step? What works for you?

How to Be Your Own Food Detective

Consider starting a food mood journal

A woman smiles into a mirror.
A woman smiles into a mirror.
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Lessons Learned

One step at a time

Listen to your body and notice the benefits

Ask for support from family and friends

Focus on adding good food

Plan ahead

The Most Important Eating Habits for Good Mood

Increase fruits and veggies

someone preparing a meal and cutting letuce, there are other bowls with raw ingredients
someone preparing a meal and cutting letuce, there are other bowls with raw ingredients
Photo by Maarten van den Heuvel from Pexels

Adding protein to each meal

Consuming the right fats

Improve the quality of your breakfast

Notice your sugar intake

Note on artificial sweeteners

What About Beverages and Drinks

someones head is covered with a lot of colrful pills
someones head is covered with a lot of colrful pills
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

What About Supplements

table with vitamins and minerals that affect our mood
table with vitamins and minerals that affect our mood
BDA, UK

Note on cutting out or reducing an entire food group

Lack of light and vitamin D

The Other Factors Affecting Our Mood

picture of the author smiling at the camera very close, curly hair
picture of the author smiling at the camera very close, curly hair
Source: the author (pictured)

Final Thoughts

Written by

Registered Nutritional Therapist | Health & Lifestyle Coach. Stories on Food and Mood, Mental Health, Anxiety, Self Care, Personal Growth https://bit.ly/2X0LJHe

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