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How food can affect our mood

The type of food we usually consume doesn't only affect our physical health, but it also affects our mood and wellbeing. Multiple studies has shown that having a well-balanced diet with plenty of vegetables and nutrients can improve mood and wellbeing. According to Eat well guide of The National Health Service (NHS) in UK, a meal it should contain all food groups (e.g., vegetables, meat, carbohydrates) to achieve a balanced diet. The Eat well guide categorized the food into five main groups: vegetables and fruit, starchy food, protein source food, dairy food, and unsaturated fats. In general, vegetables and fruit should be the most considerable portion of your food with fewer portions of starchy food such as rice in addition to meat and fish as sources of protein. Foods include chocolate, cakes, sugary soft drinks, butter, and ice cream are not essential and should be consumed in smaller amounts, as people whom consumed large quantities of sugar are most likely to diagnosed with depression (Akbaraly et al., 2009).

A balanced diet will help people improve their mood regardless of their positions, educational stages, and age. However, Ph.D. students, need particular kinds of food to help them improve their mood and enhance their brain function for studying in the same time. Specific types of food can boost students' energy and recover their spirit after being under stress for a long time, such as nuts, fish, dark chocolate, citrus fruits, and berries. More details about some of these foods are listed below.

1. Fatty fish (e.g., salmon)

This type of fish is rich in two types of omega-3s — docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), which are linked to lower depression incidence (Giles et al., 2013). Omega-3s enhance your brain's cell membrane fluidity, brain development, and cell signaling (Giles et al., 2013). The clinical trials of some studies show that taking an omega-3 supplement in the form of fish oil can lower depression cases (Yang et al., 2018).

2. Bananas

Bananas are rich in vitamin B6, which helps to release the feel-good neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin and turn up your mood. One large banana contains 16 g of sugar and 4 gram of fiber; the combination of sugar and fibers will slow the release of sugar in the blood, balance the blood sugar levels and provide better mood control (Evans Kreider et al., 2017).

3. Dark chocolate

Dark chocolate is a good source of the mood-boosting compound such as caffeine, theobromine, and N-acylethanolamine; these substances are chemically similar to cannabinoids that related to improved mood (Scholey and Owen, 2013).

4. Berries

Berries have a variety of antioxidants and phenolic compounds, which play a significant role in evading oxidative stress. In addition, some studies showed that a diet rich in anthocyanin (the purple-blue pigment), linked with a 39% lower risk of depression symptoms (Godos et al., 2018).

The relationship between food and mood is still complex. In conclusion, attempt to get balanced and healthy, keep your body hydrated, eat regularly, and share your meals with people to maintain a sense of rhythm and regularity in our lives.


1. AKBARALY, T. N., BRUNNER, E. J., FERRIE, J. E., MARMOT, M. G., KIVIMAKI, M. & SINGH-MANOUX, A. 2009. Dietary pattern and depressive symptoms in middle age. British Journal of Psychiatry, 195, 408-413.

2. EVANS KREIDER, K., PEREIRA, K. & PADILLA, B. I. 2017. Practical Approaches to Diagnosing, Treating and Preventing Hypoglycemia in Diabetes. Diabetes Ther, 8, 1427-1435.

3. GILES, G. E., MAHONEY, C. R. & KANAREK, R. B. 2013. Omega-3 fatty acids influence mood in healthy and depressed individuals. Nutr Rev, 71, 727-41.

4. GODOS, J., CASTELLANO, S., RAY, S., GROSSO, G. & GALVANO, F. 2018. Dietary Polyphenol Intake and Depression: Results from the Mediterranean Healthy Eating, Lifestyle and Aging (MEAL) Study. Molecules, 23.

5. SCHOLEY, A. & OWEN, L. 2013. Effects of chocolate on cognitive function and mood: a systematic review. Nutr Rev, 71, 665-81.

6. YANG, Y., KIM, Y. & JE, Y. 2018. Fish consumption and risk of depression: Epidemiological evidence from prospective studies. Asia Pac Psychiatry, 10, e12335.

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