Julie Gough - The link between mood and food!

Julie Gough - The link between mood and food!

This blog discusses how different types of food can affect our mood and well-being. It highlights the link between what we eat and how we feel, noting that processed and refined carbohydrates like white bread and pasta can leave us feeling bloated and low. On the other hand, certain foods can improve our mood by affecting the neurotransmitters in our brain. The key takeaway is the importance of consuming the right nutrients to maintain balanced neurotransmitters and stabilise blood sugar levels, which can positively impact mood.

 Written by Julie Gough

Our bodies respond differently to types of foods in different ways. There is link between what we eat and how we feel. Some foods including processed and refined carbohydrate like white breads and pasta can leave us feeling bloated and also making us feel low; others can actually improve our mood. This is because what we eat can affect the neurotransmitters the brain produces and therefore how we feel.

We must feed our brains the right nutrients to produce balanced neurotransmitters to boost our mood. Our blood sugar also impacts our mood, foods high in sugar can cause a sudden increase in blood sugars this is then followed by a quick crash when our body clears the sugar, these sugar lows can impact our mood making us feel low

Omega-3 and omega-6 fats are found in oily fish (e.g. wild salmon, sardines, trout and mackerel) raw nuts and unsalted nuts and seeds. These fats have been well researched for brain health having a critical role in the structure and function of the brain and therefore can impact mood. The body cannot make these fats, so must be part of the daily diet. Aim to include oily fish in your diet 2-3 times a week and have a handful of nuts and seeds daily as a snack. If you don`t like oily fish then you could take an omega 3 supplement. 
These contain fibre that can slow down the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream and stabilise blood sugar levels. Complex carbs also contain B vitamins, magnesium and zinc, which are brain-boosting nutrients. Complex carbs include: oats, beans, brown rice, rye bread, pluses and vegetables.
This is vital for good brain health and increase release of mood boosting chemicals in the brain as well as helping to maintain blood sugar levels. Aim to include protein into every meal. Good sources include eggs, poultry, seafood, tofu, fish, beans nuts and seeds
This is an amino acid (amino acids are the building blocks of protein) which our body converts into serotonin our ‘feel good’ hormone. Foods to include: peanuts, turkey, salmon and eggs. To boost your mood, include these foods in your diet daily.

White breads, pasta, cakes, chocolate, fizzy drinks and many high sugar breakfast cereals can cause blood sugar fluctuations increasing the feelings of anxiety leading to a low mood.
Too much alcohol and caffeine too frequently can trigger the brain into producing hormones that may increase the feelings of stress and anxiety. Alcohol can also reduce serotonin the “feel good” hormone

Found in meat, dairy products and also hydrogenated fats found in processed foods can compete with our good fats blocking them out impacting our mood.

They can give you side effects including mood swings, headaches and dizziness. In addition heavy metals can be found in some foods including lead and mercury, which can impact brain health


Our gut bacteria play a huge role in our mood and happiness, many factors play a role in producing the gut microbiome including diet, environment, season and health status. When the human microbiome is challenged with changes in diet, stress or antibiotics the physiology of the microbiome changes. The gut microbiome can regulate emotions and 90% of our serotonin (“feel good hormone”) are located in the gut and the most common pharmacological treatment for mood disorders are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI`s) which have gastrointestinal side effects.