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How food can affect your mood

Food can have a major impact on our day-to-day mood and mental wellbeing. A poor diet can make you feel sluggish, low, and increase symptoms of depression and anxiety.

But did you know eating well can improve your headspace by:

  • Helping you sleep better.

  • Giving you more energy.

  • Improving your concentration.

  • Making you less likely to crave foods with high sugar, salt or fat.

Food fuels both the body and mind. Eating a selection of foods that meet your daily nutritional needs can help you improve your overall health and lead a healthy lifestyle.

Our brain needs nutritious foods too because it accounts for around 20% of our total daily energy requirements.

When we choose nutritious foods, we are providing our body (and brain) with the building blocks needed to be at our best.

The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend that we all increase our intake of fruit and vegetables and reduce foods high in sugar, salt, and fat. Here is a quick overview of what to look for next time you are in the grocery store.

Fruit and vegetables

Fruit and vegetables provide us with fibre to support a healthy gut environment. They also give us a wide range of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to support brain health. You should always aim for two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables each day.


Wholegrains are another important source of fibre to feed our good gut bacteria.

Lean meats, fish, and eggs

The protein in lean meats, fish and eggs provide building blocks of many brain chemicals that can influence our mood. Fish, especially oily fish, along with nuts, seeds and legumes are also a good source of those healthy fats and vitamins that support positive mental health and are known to protect against dementia and depression.


Dairy foods like yoghurt contain living beneficial bacteria that can boost our gut health, which influences our mood and mental wellbeing.


Drinking plenty of fluids prevents dehydration – a common cause of headaches and tiredness, and our ability to concentrate.

Some foods can lift your mood, energy levels, and concentration, while others can have the opposite effect. Making changes to your eating can be challenging. Getting in touch with other people who have had challenges with healthy eating may also give you ideas on how to overcome your own challenges and improve your eating habits.

Finally, you can also seek professional help like your local GP or counsellor. A professional is trained to help you get through any issue. Your mental health is important.

Whether you desire anxiety, depression, or relationship counselling, you can reach out to the Psychology, Counseling and Wellbeing Centre by calling 07 3891 2273 or shoot an email to

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