Food impacts mood in two important ways. 

1) Food: a building block of the brain

First, the food we eat is used as building blocks in our brain.  One example is omega-3 fatty acid, which comes from fish, nuts and green vegetables.  This ingredient coats and protects brain cells and makes up 30% of the brain.  If the brain doesn’t get enough, people have higher rates of depression, bipolar disorder and irritability. 

Food impacts brain growth in other ways as well.  For example, a diet that is low in sugar and fat (especially saturated and trans fats) can improve brain growth in ways that help prevent mood disorders.

In 2016 nutritionists wrapped together all of this research into an easy to follow program called the MindDiet. Research confirmed this diet improved concentration and reduced the risk of dementia by 50%.

Click here to read more about the effects certain foods have on the brain.

2) Mood: a regulator of appetite and metabolic health

Mood disorders impact the hormone-system, which is how the brain communicates with the body.  This system regulates appetite, metabolism and physical health.  When it becomes unbalanced by mood, people may crave foods like fats and sugars.  The imbalance in stress hormones may contribute to physical illnesses like obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and high cholesterol. 

This cycle of mood, hormones and appetite can leave people feeling overwhelmed and out of control.  We help people identify simple steps in their diet that can gradually turn the cycle of appetite around and restore balance and health to their metabolism.


Weight Loss the Easy Way. Weight loss is hard for anyone, particularly if you have depression. We looked at the science of weight loss and pulled together the easiest methods in this handout.

SimpleProgram. A research-based program for diet and exercise from Yale University.


The Harvard School of Public Health has an excellent guide to nutrition online.

Dr. Gómez-Pinilla studies the effects of food on the brain at UCLA; many of his articles are available on his website.