nutrition and food affects mood and wellbeing

5 Surprising Ways Food Affects Mood (Backed by Science)

Food is not just fuel for the body. It's also fuel for your mood

Is it true that the food you eat can affect your mood? Sluggish, happy, energetic – can we trace this to diet?

In this post, we’ll share the answers, looking at what studies have found. Here’s the thing: our mood is not like emotions or feelings. 

It’s not as intense, less specific, and less likely to be a result of a particular situation or event. 

Also, mood is not the same as personality traits. Or even temperament. Personality traits last longer. Moods are temporary. Various factors affect mood.

For example lack of sleep, facial expressions, and nutrition. But among all these three factors, nutrition may be the biggest. Let me explain.


Nutrition and mood 

Studies show that 90 percent of serotonin receptors are located in the gut. 

This is the reason why the common side effects of antidepressants are gut-related. Like nausea, gastrointestinal problems, or diarrhea. 

This shows a connection between anatomy and psychology through the vague nerve. 

Here’s the good news:

Researchers’ understanding of this gateway has provided is providing more clarity. Especially in the correlation between diet and diseases like anxiety, depression, mood.

How foods affect mood?

Certain foods influence your mood, either positively or negatively. Dietary patterns play a role in the uplifting of moods and improve mental health. 

Let’s take a look at food’s impact on mood. 

1. Depression

Several studies have linked excessive sugar consumption to depression.

One of those studies was comprehensive research of over 10,000 participants over 22 years between 1983 and 2013. 

Research in the Scientific Reports found an adverse effect of higher sugar intake on mental health. Blood sugar and your mood are directly connected. These two are related to each other. 

Another study found a link between fast-food and depression. 

Researchers found nearly 450 cases of depression. And they reported that consuming fast food was associated with a higher risk of depression.

Even though it is entirely normal to crave fried food, it is best to avoid trans fat meals. 

Foods like fried chicken, French fries, and so on because they’ll increase the chances of depression. Some people, when sad, have their comfort food, which they often binge eat to feel better. 


But is it making them feel better? 

study in the Journal of Affective Disorders found that certain foods heighten sadness. 

Refined carbohydrates like pretzel or soda elevate the blood sugar level and may increase the risk of persistent sadness. 

Eating lots of whole grains will have the opposite effect.

2. Restlessness

Are you having trouble sleeping? Do you feel restless or insomniac?

If you’re eating a poor diet close to your sleeping time, you’ll find it difficult to sleep. 

For example, a poor diet that contains high fats is not easily digestible. Your stomach will try to digest the food, but it would turn into indigestion. 

When you have indigestion, your body can’t relax, and you’ll experience a disruption in your sleep. There are certain minerals and vitamins which are found in foods that can help you sleep. 

In one study, researchers at Columbia University investigated how fiber and saturated fat impact sleep arousals and slow-wave sleep.

The researchers found that poor diet results in more sleep arousals and slow sleep waves. A poor diet containing saturated fats and fiber disturb sleeping patterns. 

Those minerals include calcium, magnesium, vitamin B, and tryptophan. 

These vitamins and minerals can be found in certain foods like apples, milk products, almonds, cherry juice, and so on.

3. Happiness

Many foods can keep our bodies healthy and our moods happy. For example asparagus, beans, egg yolk, peas, fish, meat, bell pepper, almonds.


These foods can influence serotonin, making us happier and calmer.

4. Irritability, anxiety, and nervousness

The sugar rush is real. Eating too much sugar can lead to increased depression and anxiety.

And it can cause even more severe symptoms to those with schizophrenia. 

The roller coaster of high blood sugar is often characterized by a crash that accentuates mood disorders more. 

It can cause high restlessness and hyperactivity so much that sometimes you can’t fall asleep.To prevent anxiety, avoid foods like ketchup, soda, fruit juice, toast coffee, and so on. 

A high intake of refined carbohydrates and processed sugar can cause irritability. 

Meals like white bread and pastries cause blood sugar levels to rise and fall sporadically, and this leads to irritation. 

Many times, we feel nervous and anxious, but there are foods and fruits we can eat to help us calm our nerves. 

Fruits like bananas contain tryptophan, which the body converts to serotonin. 

5. Energy

There are always times during the day when many people just feel tired and exhausted. 


This state of tiredness typically reduces productivity and affects their daily activities. There are various foods and drinks that you can take if you want to raise your energy levels. 

Many of them are abundant in vitamins, minerals, and also omega fats that are good for the body. 

They will assist in providing the energy needed to get through the day. 

Examples of these energy-boosting foods include:

  • Banana: rich in fiber, pectin, potassium, and B6.
  • Eggs: loaded omega-3 fatty acid DHA, vitamins, like vitamins A, D, E, and K, and minerals, like phosphorus and iron
  • Tuna
  • Mackerel
  • Brown rice
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Water can help increase your energy levels and make you energetic for the rest of the day.


Your mood is a mental state influenced by a variety of things including psychology, environment, and food. 

Different kinds of food affect and promote certain moods.