This Eating Habit Can Improve Your Mood, New Study Says – Eat This Not That

When considering how your diet affects your health, it’s worth thinking beyond your body — your food choices can also have a significant impact on your mind.

They can influence how your brain works, keep you alert, or hasten your cognitive decline. They can also play an important role in your mood, either giving you the boost you need to get through the day or leaving you in the doldrums.

Now, a new study suggests that sticking to the Mediterranean diet may help fight depression.


In the study published in the journal PLOS ONE, the researchers looked at a group of almost 7,000 seniors over a two-year period. All of the participants followed a Mediterranean diet, with one group adhering to a calorie-restricted version of the diet and the other group having no such restrictions.

Related: The Best Juice to Drink Every Day, According to Science

The researchers found that participants in both groups saw a decrease in depressive symptoms, concluding that the link between diet and mood disorder “deserves further research”.

“This study is strong because it is a longitudinal cohort, which allows for assessment of changes over time,” said David Wiss, PhD, MS, RDN, CEO of Wise Mind Nutrition. Eat this, not that!. “Too often, people associate nutrition with weight and changes in biomarkers. When nutrition is over-medicalized, people can overlook nutrition’s potential to improve mood.”

He adds that evidence supports the positive impact of the Mediterranean diet on depressive symptoms through “a wide range of pathways” and that the diet can help improve people’s quality of life.

Chelsea Jackle, MFN, RDN, LD, nutritionist team leader at Cerebral, shares Eat this, not that! that while food can play an important role in how you feel, it’s important to take a broader view of your mental health, incorporating mood-boosting habits and staying mindful of factors beyond your your will.

“There’s definitely a connection between the food you eat and your mental health, but it’s still clear,” she says. “While many studies link mental health issues like depression to the foods we eat, these results aren’t always consistent. Your mental health is also affected by things like your genes, lifestyle, life and your environment. The foods you eat will not cause or treat mental health issues on their own, but they can be an important piece of the puzzle.”

To learn more about how the foods you eat can affect your emotional state, check out these 11 Foods That End Bad Mood.

Clara Olshansky

Clara Olshansky (they/she) is a Brooklyn-based writer and comedian whose web content has appeared in Food & Wine, Harper’s Magazine, Men’s Health, and Reductress. Read more

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