How Food Can Impact Emotions and Mood

Colorful letters on a white background, spelling out 'good food good mood' with fruit slices as the 'o's

We have all heard the saying “you are what you eat”, but how does what we eat really impact our daily emotions and moods?

According to Eva Selhub MD over at Harvard Health, about 95% of serotonin is produced in our gut. Remember serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps in regulation of sleep, appetite, moods, and even pain.

So it’s no wonder the foods we eat that travel through our gut have a big role in our emotions. Our serotonin is highly influenced by the amount of ‘good’ bacteria versus ‘bad’ bacteria. The ‘good’ bacteria helps to line our stomachs, break down and digest our food, and work to keep the ‘bad’ bacteria from entering our systems.

There are studies that show areas like Japan and the Mediterranean, where people primarily eat fruits, vegetables, fresh fish, and unprocessed grains have lower rates of depression and anxiety.

When your gut is overwhelmed by bad bacteria, it can lead to inflammation and low energy. All of these things will influence your mood and emotions.

What are some tips to start eating better for better moods?

  1. Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables
  2. Take the time to meal prep for the week, so you aren’t tempted to pick up take out on your way home when you’re tired from work
  3. Drink water and herbal teas through out the day
  4. Eat slowly and mindfully so your body is able to digest your food properly
  5. Keep a food log for a few weeks to record how your mood or emotions change based on what you’ve eaten.