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Is Your Mood Affected By What You Eat?

Disclaimer: Elise Ho, aka “Dr. Ho” is a Holistic Health & Life Coach. Dr. Ho is NOT a medical doctor, licensed therapist, lawyer, or a bevy of other things. Products or services that Dr. Ho believes in are the only ones that she recommends. Dr. Ho may receive compensation, product, or an affiliate commission on anything you see on this site. This is a personal Website solely reflecting Dr. Ho’s personal opinions. Statements on this site do not represent the views or policies of any organization with which I may be affiliated.

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Is Your Mood Affected By What You Eat?


Nutrition is often ignored as a way to help with mood, depression, bouts of sadness, and many issues of mental illness.

If you have feelings of suicide, please, call the Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 (Available 24 hours every day.)

The information, opinion, and tips in this article are meant to be of service in addition to expanding your thought process regarding what may help with your overall mood. If you need additional care do not hesitate to reach out to a trusted source.

Is Your Mood Affected By What You Eat?

The National Institute of Health states that “A notable feature of the diets of patients suffering from mental disorders is the severity of deficiency in essential vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids.”

Why don’t our medical doctors prescribe supplements coupled with a nutrient-rich diet?

Can some people avoid pharmaceuticals completely if they are attending to their nutrition?

Can those that need pharmaceutical intervention benefit from better nutrition?

Research quoted in Nutritional Therapies For Mental Disorders shows that daily supplements of vital nutrients are often effective in reducing patients’ symptoms. Supplements containing amino acids have also been found to reduce symptoms.

In 2004 a documentary called “Super Size Me” made its debut. In this film, Director Morgan Spurlock lived on fast food for an entire month. This wreaked havoc on his system. Morgan experienced weight gain coupled with a major dip in energy, sex drive, and attitude. As well, he suffered from issues similar to that of an addict such as only feeling “better” when he ate the fast food. This film offers a great example of how poor nutrition can negatively affect you.

It is important to put the focus on nutrition when working on your physical and mental health. Proper nutrition affects every area of life.

What steps can we take?


Take a Probiotic.

Anxiety levels, the perception of stress and mental outlook may be improved with the addition of probiotics to your diet. I recommend Align Probiotic Supplement.

Eat fermented foods.

Kefir, Kombucha, and KimChi are just a few examples of fermented foods. These act as natural probiotics and may offer the same benefits of probiotics.

Eat whole grains. 

Diets high in whole grains, fruits and vegetables may reduce anxiety, depression and mood swings.

Eat foods high In Omega-3 Fatty Acids.

Walnuts, flaxseed and certain fish such as anchovies, wild salmon, and mackerel. These foods may help to stabilize blood sugar, improve mood and prevent depression. Check out my Fish & Seafood Recipe Board on Pinterest for inspiration.

Supplement with Fish Oil.

The American Psychiatric Association recommends that “that all patients with mood, impulse-control, or psychotic disorders should consume 1 gram of EPA + DHA per day. They also suggested that a supplemental dose ranging up to 9 grams may be beneficial (but any dose greater than 3 grams should be monitored by a physician).”

Check your Vitamin D.

Lack of Vitamin D has been linked to seasonal depression.

Stay hydrated.

85% of brain tissue is water. Dehydration can cause headaches, alter mood and make it difficult to concentrate. When you are thirsty you are already on the way to dehydration. Listen to your body and drink up. For your water needs click HERE.

Avoid caffeine.

Caffeine consumption can lead to trouble sleeping, irritability and feelings of anxiousness.

Avoid sugar.

A diet high in sugar can increase inflammation in the body. A study in JAMA Psychiatry shows that depressed people have brain inflammation that is 30% higher than average.

Avoid processed/refined foods.

Artificial sweeteners, additives, and refined sugar are just a few of the ingredients that can aggravate depression.

Do not skip meals.

When we skip meals we risk our blood sugar taking a nosedive. This can translate into low energy and inability to concentrate. It can also cause headaches and less resistance to foods that do not support our goals.

Further research shows that gluten, dairy, and several other food-related factors may affect mood.

What has been your experience? Have you explored with eliminating certain foods? Have you boosted other foods so as to keep those feel-good emotions strong?


Please use the comment section below to share your tips, questions, and/or thoughts about this post.

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Naturally Yours,
Elise Ho
Ph.D., D.N. Psych.
Behavioral & Mental Health Specialist

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34 thoughts on “Is Your Mood Affected By What You Eat?”

  1. Thank you for sharing this. It’s very helpful. I super love Kimchi and happy of its benefits. However, I feel the lack of sunlight affects me therefore I need to supplement it with Vitamin D.

  2. Joan M Harrington

    Hi Elise,

    So much great information in your post, thank you for sharing how mood can be affected by what we are eating 🙂 Awesome tips! I am working on cutting out sugar from my diet (hard to do) also not quite sure about caffeine, but at least I do not drink as much as I used too, so that is a start 🙂 Great share and post!!

  3. This is very timely for me as we are attempting to make serious diet changes. Knowing that emotions and food are connected will make me more aware of my choices and why I’m making them.

  4. Hi Dr. Elise,
    Great article on how food affects your mood . I am also of the idea that -we are what we eat.
    I drink water all day long. no probiotics or fermented foods, lots of fruits and veggies and whole grains. Walnuts are my snack and love wild salmon. Will check out your fish and seafood recipe board and take vitamin D in the winter.
    I avoid sugar as much as possible but enjoy caffeine and never skip a meal.

  5. Deborah A. Ten Brink

    Hello, Elise:

    I start each day by “oil pulling” with coconut oil. It has really made a difference in my overall oral health.

    It seems somewhere along the way, we were taught about working for the almighty dollar was more important than just about anything else! Yes, survival and quality of life are important so we do need money, it’s just that money is not my focus in life.

    Remember the old adage, “If you don’t have your health, what have you got?”

  6. Erika Mohssen-Beyk

    Hi Elise ,
    this again proves that we are what we eat 🙂
    Everything is connected and if we are not aware
    and eat right and take care to get enough natural
    and nutritious food it certainly affects our health.
    This is a good reminder to think about the consequences
    of eating on the go and fast food .Great post
    Thank you

  7. Hi Elise,
    This is a great reminder, I found when I am tired I’ll eat anything that is easy and ready to grab,
    so I usually have some small snacks in the fridge because if not I’ll be munching on chocolate bars and cake 🙂
    Thank you for sharing!

  8. Great article and we certainly can alter moods with poor nutrition. I get generalized body aches like a hang ovet with too many sweets consumed. I agree with what this article says. I also believe that the superfoods often alleviate and or eradicate illness related to unchecked inflammatory processes.

  9. Hello Elise! I can tell the difference in my mood when ever I skip a meal! I have always been a 3 meal a day person plus snacks HEHE If I Skip One Look Out!! Especially breakfast..

    Great share my friend
    Chery :))

  10. Hi Elise,

    I am a firm believer of you are what you eat. All you listed are what I do all the time. My husband was a ghost writer of the book “Good Food Good Mood” and researched extensively on this topic. This is how we live our lives. Even my grandson who is on the low end of Autism is getting better from the diet he is on.

    There certainly is a cause and effect of what we put into our bodies. I gotta say I’m good at it, but do have a coffee habit. My big excuse is that I drink a huge glass of water afterwards…I know I’m in denial lol.

    Hey no one is perfect!


  11. Very true! I’m normally “not bad” with my diet, but just yesterday I’d been really working hard and ended up pretty exhausted. Then I grabbed for a glass of wine and bar of chocolate – late at night 🙁 BAD.

    Although, actually that’s the opposite way round really. My mood was affectING what I ate. It’s all chicken and egg I suppose.

    You have reminded me, though, that I have let my supplements slide. Smacked wrists for me 🙂

    Thanks for an interesting post.

    Joy – Blogging After Dark

  12. Hi Dr. Elise,

    Thoughtful post that is contrary to much of the research in the scientific community. Details I’ve recently posted about.

    I’ve been researching for information that does support the benefits of nutritional supplements so I can balance the negative view. But would much rather publish a guest post from you on the subject. Interested?

  13. This article makes a lot of sense. While I normal eat in a healthy way, the last three weeks I really blew it. My best friend of 22 years died and I have been lethargic. A lot of grabbing meals on the go (sometimes fast food). I have already noticed a difference in my mental state and just yesterday I wondered if my poor diet of late could be the cause.

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About The Author

Dr. Elise Ho

Dr. Elise Ho

Dr. Elise Ho is a Holistic Health & Life Coach with a special interest in emotional health, life alignment, and energy flow.

Elise will partner with you to align your mindset, your energy, your home and your career so that you can live your life's desire with freedom and love.

Elise offers 30 years of experience and multiple certifications and degrees including a Ph.D. in Natural Health and a doctoral degree in Naturopathic Psychology.