What to Eat for How You Feel: A Guide to Food and Mood

Food is not just a means of nourishing our bodies; it also has an impact on our moods, energy levels, and overall emotional well-being. When we eat well, we feel well, and there’s science to back that up. Research shows that certain nutrients can influence brain function and mood, and that the gut-brain connection plays a role in our mental health. So, if you’re looking to boost your mood, here’s a guide to what to eat for how you feel.

Feeling Anxious?

If you’re feeling anxious, reach for foods that have calming properties, such as turkey, which contains the amino acid tryptophan, and chamomile tea, which has a relaxing effect on the body. Foods rich in magnesium, such as leafy greens, avocados, and nuts, can also help to reduce anxiety, as can dark chocolate, which contains the mood-boosting compound phenylethylamine.

Feeling Depressed?

Depression can be a result of low levels of serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter that regulates mood. To boost serotonin levels, opt for complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains, which help to increase the production of serotonin. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids are also beneficial for mental health, as they have anti-inflammatory properties that can help to reduce symptoms of depression. Try adding oily fish, like salmon and sardines, to your diet, or supplement with fish oil capsules.

Feeling Tired?

If you’re feeling sluggish and low on energy, it might be time for a pick-me-up. Skip the caffeine and reach for foods that are high in iron, such as red meat, spinach, and lentils, as low iron levels can cause fatigue and lethargy. Foods that are rich in vitamin B12, such as eggs and dairy products, are also important for energy production and can help to combat feelings of tiredness.

Feeling Stressed?

Stress can cause inflammation in the body, which can lead to a range of health problems. To combat stress, focus on eating a diet that is rich in anti-inflammatory foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats like olive oil and avocado. Foods that contain vitamin C, such as citrus fruits and berries, can also help to reduce stress levels, as can green tea, which contains the amino acid theanine, known to promote relaxation.

Feeling Happy?

If you’re feeling good and want to maintain that happy feeling, focus on eating a diet that is balanced and nutritious. Eating a variety of whole foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats, can help to maintain optimal brain function and mood stability. Be sure to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, and limit your intake of processed foods, which can interfere with brain function and cause inflammation in the body.


Food plays a crucial role in our mood and emotional wellbeing. By choosing the right foods for how you feel, you can boost your mood, energy, and overall health. Remember to focus on a balanced diet that includes a variety of whole foods, and don’t forget to stay hydrated. Eating well isn’t just good for your body – it’s good for your mind, too!