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Research Shows What You Eat Can Affect Your Mood

Posted March 26, 2002

— Researchers believe what you eat can have a big effect on your mood.

Research shows that certain foods contain compounds that affect the nervous system and influence mood. In some people, a lack of these foods can trigger feelings of depression.

Carbohydrates stimulate serotonin production-- a key component to depression.

"A drop in serotonin will give rise to depression in some people. That same drop in serotonin will give rise to a craving for carbohydrates," biochemist Dr. Nicholas Hall said.

Researchers claim caffeine and sugar can have a negative effect on mood. Foods have different effects on different people. It takes time to figure out what works for you. Health experts have some suggestions:

  • Add more fruits and vegetables to your diet.
  • Aim for five servings a day.
  • Limit fatty foods.
  • Get rid of refined grains. Instead, look for labels that say whole-wheat.
  • Dietitians claim you will not notice the change overnight, but it will not take long to feel the difference.

    "I think every baby step you take in the right direction is hugely beneficial to you," dietitian Brenda Davis said.

    Certain food and chemical sensitivities can trigger stronger mood reactions. If you are clinically depressed, food alone is not the solution. In many cases, medications and therapy are needed.

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