Have you ever wondered about the impact your diet has upon your mood? You may have eaten a heavy meal and felt sluggish, overeaten a dessert and felt sick, or not eaten enough and felt tired and low in energy. The food we eat goes much further than just affecting our digestive system and our energy levels. Our diet has a direct impact upon our mood – which can be both positive or negative.

Do you find that you are experiencing depression, feeling low in mood and lacking motivation? Ever thought that your diet may be a key contributor of this?

There are nutrients in our food that we require for our body and cells to function optimally. Our ability to focus comes from glucose which is found in carbohydrates, which is why guidance recommends a diet consisting of around 50% carbohydrate. Yet, what types exactly should we be eating? Wholegrains, as well as carbohydrates found in fruits and vegetables, are important as they contain lots of vitamins and minerals.

When we don’t get enough nutrients in our diet we can become deficient in certain nutrients and this puts us at risk of malnutrition-related deficiencies, which affects our physical and mental health.

So how exactly can our food influence our mood?

Foods actually have the ability to reduce anxiety. Foods rich in magnesium and folic acid should be included in your diet.

Foods rich in folic acid include green leafy veg, spinach, lettuce, avocado, cabbage, bok choi, broccoli, salon, green peas, shrimp, turkey, nuts and seeds, peanuts, sesame seeds, hazelnuts, cashews, beans pulses, lentils, chickpeas, black and kidney beans, oranges.

Foods rich in magnesium include watercress, peppers, brussels sprouts, cabbage, almonds, brazil nuts, oatmeal, long grain rice, yoghurt, baked beans, fruit, banana, kiwi, blackberries, strawberries, oranges and dark chocolate.

Foods can also help to combat depression, so if you are lacking in vitamins B3, B6, C, selenium, zinc, omega 3 fatty acids, tryptophan, tyrosine, or GABA you may find that you are suffering depression. To help combat this, include wholegrains and plenty of vegetables.

Try to get a balanced diet rich in fruit, vegetables, lean protein, meats such as oily fish. Try this anxiety reducing tasty recipe that is rich in B vitamins and magnesium (right).