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  • Writer's pictureKathy Ozakovic

How Food Affects Your Mood

Updated: Dec 7, 2023

Foods That Support Mental Health and Attention.

In the UK, in the year 2020 (when the COVID saga begun) Eating Disorders amongst teens increased by 300%. These are numbers from hospitalised teens - imagine the number of kids that are not in hospital and are battling on their own. That same year, parents with children between the ages of as young as 5 to 21 years old reported seeing their child's mental health worsen. Not being a mother yet, I can only imagine how hard this must've been for the parents themselves with what I imagine would be feelings of helplessness, affecting their own mental health.


I'm a Wellness Dietitian, so why am I telling you this?


You may or may not have heard, your GUT is connected to your brain! It's a VERY REAL pathway, existing physically via the VAGUS NERVE. This means - what we choose to eat affects our brain chemistry and impacts our MOOD. This pathway is why certain food choices, artificial food chemicals, colourings and flavourings can exacerbate symptoms of ADHD, Anxiety and Depression.


Food Colours & Behaviour: Some research has shown that a few artificial colours have adverse affects on children's behaviour - especially hyperactivity. These colours are:

- Sunset Yellow (110)

- Quinoline Yellow (104)

- Carmosine (122)

- Allura Red (129)

- Tartrazine (102)

- Ponceau 4R (124)


Think to when you've felt butterflies in your stomach (be it seeing your crush or presentation nerves!). This is your BRAIN sending signals to your GUT! Ever had a 'gut feeling' about something? Your brain was working in overdrive to process information and let you know the verdict! Similarly, when we are heartbroken and going through times of pain and hurt, which we've all experiences through the lockdowns directly or indirectly, our brain is sending these SAD CHEMICALS to our gut which may cause distress to our bowels and may impact how we digest food.


FYI: IT'S GUT HEALTH AWARENESS MONTH - Everyone is different! Some people will experience cramping, bloating, constipation and others will have diarrhoea or reflux. Some will lose their appetite, others will find it! We all have different chemicals being formed by our bodies. For example: Every time I tell mama Karmela: "Imam ti nesto rec" translates to: "I've got something to tell you" she gets the runs BEFORE I've said what I had to say! But when she is stressed she is very constipated (I know how to keep shit moving for mum naturally!).


FLIP THE STORY - If what we eat can exacerbate symptoms of Anxiety, Depression, ADHD, Stress... This also means what we eat can help SOOTHE these symptoms and promote positivity, happiness, calmness, resilience! One way in which you can support yourself through heartache is with nutritious foods that have been proven to positively impact mental health! Nourish your body and build yourself back stronger. Help your brain produce more positive, feel good chemicals by eating helpful foods.


What are these helpful, feel good chemical producers? The recommended amounts of colourful, various fruits and vegetables, wholegrains, legumes, low fat and unsweetened dairy, raw and unsalted nuts, more fish and white meat (less red meat, emphasis on lean red meat), eggs, Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Wholesome nutritious foods!


So, if you or someone you know is feeling hurt and pain and not sure how to start getting back up - Consider the role of wholesome nutritious foods to help build yourself back stronger. Nourish your body and help your brain produce more feel good chemicals, more positivity and happiness. Press 'Book Now' and take 15 min to have a chat about how I can support your mental health as a Wellness Dietitian through Nutrition for Gut Health.


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Did you find this blog helpful and informative? Tag & Share with your friends who would love it too! Sign up for my Free NuFit Wellness Newsletter to stay in the loop. Attend my Wellness Workshops. I help clients Achieve & Maintain Wellness through Nutrition for Gut Health so that they can thrive in life. Nutrition & Wellness Specialist, Dietitian, Health Coach, Holistic Gut Health Expert - Kathy Ozakovic.


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