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The food shapes the mood – a myth or the truth?


You are what you eat. Almost everyone agrees with this ancient saying nowadays. Improper diet increases the risk of many diseases, while a right one supports practically all kinds of our body’s cells. A diet that helps the brain is becomes an increasingly popular topic and we will discuss it in this article. If you do intellectual work and want to improve your efficiency, or if you struggle with mood disorders, depression or sleep disorders, you will surely find some interesting tips below. 

The food shapes the mood – a myth or the truth?

Does a diet for a better mood exist?

In theory, every well-designed diet will improve one’s mood. When we eat a meal, happiness hormones are secreted. Because of that, food is a natural mood booster, especially when it is eaten in a convivial company of friends. At the same time, it is possible to design such a diet that will provide more specialised ingredient taking care of proper functioning of neurons and production of appropriate hormones having impact on our mood. It is enough to ensure a supply of products constituting their substrates. Among the most important substrates are:

  • Tryptophan – an amino acid that is used for making serotonin. In turn, serotonin, often referred to as the “happiness hormone”, has a crucial impact on our sense of well-being and mood – its deficiency is particularly noticeable. Additionally, serotonin levels are related to production of melatonin – the hormone responsible for healthy sleep. This amino acid is present in large quantities in yellow cheese (such as mozzarella or Gouda), pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds.
  • Tyrosine – is an amino acid used for producing dopamine, among others, which has a motivating effect and boosts our focus. Tyrosine is present in fish, avocado and bananas, among others.
  • Additionally, other ingredients important for the functioning of the nervous system include vitamins B3, B6, B9 and B12, zinc, magnesium, selenium, manganese and copper, present in nuts, seed, yeast flakes and whole grains.
  • Polyunsaturated fatty acids of appropriate quality, originating from selected plants and butter, which provides butyric acid that is indispensable for production of the neurotransmitter known as GABA.

The food shapes the mood – a myth or the truth?

Diet and mental health

Scientist have linked many nervous system diseases with diet. The impact of diet is particularly noticeable when it comes to the risk of development of neurodegenerative diseases (such a Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease), as well as epilepsy, ADHD or hyperactivity (also in children). The role of diet in treatment of depression and other mood disorders is also underlined often. Diet for the brain is a type of nutritional model that assumes increasing the amount of nutrients that protect neurons against the impact of stress and provide the necessary ingredients for building them (their myelin sheath, first and foremost). The brain consists mostly of polyunsaturated fats. A diet intended for people suffering from depression should contain large amounts of Omega-3 and Omega-6 acids, vitamins from the B group and antioxidants, which are particularly important for functioning of the brain. Meals should include flaxseed oil, hemp oil and evening primrose oil, which are particularly rich in these fatty acids. Other good sources of these acids are flax seeds, true hemp seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seed and wheat germs. Among antioxidants that improve functioning of the brain are vitamins A, C and E – you can also find them in pomegranate fruit, cherries, blackcurrant, chokeberries, bilberries, turmeric and green tea. Green tea also includes L-theanine and EGCG. These two compounds have an anti-inflammatory and soothing effect, while at the same time improving sleep quality and focus.

 It is also worth remembering that good functioning of the brain depends on good condition of the bowels. Bowels are where as much as 90% of serotonin is made with participation of gut microflora – and this hormone, as mentioned before, is of key importance for maintaining a good mood. Therefore, it is a good idea to treat all the ailments related to them – starting with adhering to an appropriate diet. Stress has a very negative impact on the condition of bowels. By trying to break the vicious circle of neglected bowels leading to neglected brain, you will contribute significantly to improvement of your mood and functioning of your brain.  

The food shapes the mood – a myth or the truth?

What to eat for a good night’s sleep?

You probably wonder sometimes what to eat for supper in order to sleep well. The supper should be small, but satiating, in order to let the body rest from digesting for about 12-14 hours. Adhering to eating windows (i.e. intermittent fasting) may have a beneficial impact on the body, although it is a method that is not recommended for everyone. A good evening meal can consist of a salad with nuts and oils, a sandwich with avocado, egg, vegetable spread and sprouts, green teat and whole bread with butter.


Every organ requires a slightly different dietary approach in order to function well. What is good for intestines does not have to be good for the stomach. If our diet is adjusted to our individual needs and ailments and takes into account the environmental conditions in which we live (i.e. plenty of stress), it will be a very significant element protecting us against chronic diseases. It will make you certain that you are doing as much as you can for your health. And there is nothing better for the brain than the feeling of security.

The food shapes the mood – a myth or the truth?

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