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Certain Foods Can Affect Your Mood

by Ron Kurtus (updated 24 May 2012)

The types of food you eat can affect your mood or how you feel.

Typical moods related to foods include having a sense of well being, changing your energy level, and affecting the tendency for depression.

Questions you may have include:

This lesson will answer those questions. Health Disclaimer

Sense of well being

Eating a good breakfast leads to improved mood, along with better memory, more energy throughout the day, and feelings of calmness.

Eating carbohydrates such as fruits, breads, grains, and some vegetables can result in calming and relaxation states with a general sense of well being.

Chocolate seems to be a natural tranquilizer. It contains a chemical that is responsible for the response similar to the feelings experienced with a hug or being in love. That may be why chocolate is such a popular treat.

Energy level

Foods can increase or decrease your energy level.

Increased energy

Eating proteins, such as meat, chicken, fish, nuts, soy products, eggs, and dairy products can help you become more alert and have increased energy.

Coffee can seem to give you extra energy, especially when sugar or sweets are included. Although you do get a "caffeine high" or "sugar high", you can also go in the opposite direction after the caffeine wears off. Plus, too much coffee can give you the "coffee nerves".

Decreased energy

According to researchers, a very low carbohydrate diet was found to enhance fatigue and reduce the desire to exercise in overweight adults.

Overeating can cause drowsiness. This phenomenon happens because blood flow is redirected to the stomach and away from the brain.


Some foods can increase depression, while others help to reduce the mood.

Researchers wonder whether poor nutrient intake may lead to depression, or whether depression leads people to eat a poor diet.

Decreasing depression

The Mediterranean diet that includes plenty of fruits, nuts, vegetables, cereals, legumes, and fish provides important sources of nutrients linked to preventing depression.

Increasing depression

A research study showed that rates of depression tended to increase in smokers who didn't eat many of the foods in the Mediterranean diet or who were low in vitamin B-12.

For some people who are sensitive to caffeine may become depressed after drinking coffee. Likewise, some people prone to depression, can be affected by chocolate in an opposite way than others. Instead of feeling good, these people get even more depressed.


Eating a good breakfast, certain carbohydrates, and chocolate can make many people feel in a good mood. Proteins can give you more energy, while overeating can produce drowsiness. Caffeine can boost energy for a short time. But it can also cause depression in some people.

A Mediterranean diet of fruits, nuts, vegetables, cereals, legumes, and fish can help to prevent depression.

Physical and mental health go hand-in-hand

Resources and references

Ron Kurtus' Credentials


How Food Affects Your Moods - WebMD

Food and Mood: 6 Ways Your Diet Affects How You Feel - U.S. News Health

The food and mood connection - Mayo Clinic

5 Ways Food Can Affect Your Mood -

General Health Resources


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Thin People Don't Clean Their Plates: Simple Lifestyle Choices for Permanent Weight Loss by Jill Fleming MS RD; Inspiration Presentations Press (2005) $22.95 - Common sense guideline to making permanent changes in one's lifestyle and body.

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