How You Can Support Your Mood With Food.

written by: Christine Carley - Naturopath BHlthSc (Nat) NHAA

Clinical studies indicate there is a strong correlation between nutritional deficiencies and mood disorders such as anxiety & depression.   Particular deficiencies are seen in B group vitamins, folate, magnesium, zinc & omega 3 fatty acids.    Deficiencies in amino acids found in protein; tryptophan, tyrosine, methionine and phenylalanine are also seen to significantly effect brain function, mood and energy.

The facts are…

Protein is essential as it contributes to the synthesis of neurotransmitters in the brain, which convert dopamine, serotonin, nor-adrenaline and GABA.  These neurotransmitters provide energy, enhance mood and contribute to quality and regulation of sleep.  All very important requirements for optimal health & brain function.

Protein rich foods eaten with ample carbohydrates and some 'good' fats helps to facilitate tryptophan which is also an essential amino acid which regulates serotonin, a hormone essential for mood, sleep cycles and pain perception. 

Magnesium is essential for energy metabolism, the body's use of glucose and it contributes to balanced muscle contraction among many other essential functions.   Deficiency signs may be small or large facial tics, muscle cramps or muscle pain, insomnia, palpitations, sensitivity to noise & lack of energy.

Nutritional studies state that a folate deficiency is found to be present in up to one third of patients with severe depression.

Clinical studies also indicate that Omega 3 fatty acids are essential for optimal brain function and deficiencies are seen to be linked to mood disorders.

What Foods To Include In Your Diet Daily

Folate/B9 & Magnesium:  Dark leafy green vegetables like kale & spinach. Liver, whole grains, lentils, legumes, broccoli, nuts: sunflower & walnuts.

B Vitamins:  Almonds, liver, kidney, molasses, poultry, crustaceans, fish, eggs, dairy, mushrooms.

Protein:  Eggs, nuts & seeds, chick peas, legumes, chicken, turkey, fish, lean red meats, quinoa, whole organic soy or Tempe products, beans, yoghurt.

Vitamin D3: Herring, kipper, tinned salmon and sardines, eggs, mackerel, butter, fortified milks, cod liver oil, (& SUNLIGHT).

Omega 3 fatty acids:  Flax seeds & oil, walnuts,  whole organic soybeans, oily cold water fish such as; herring, tuna, mackerel, salmon, trevally, tailor, rainbow trout & sardines.

Other great foods to include:  Seaweed – high in tryptophan, Blueberries, goji berries - antioxidants essential for vitamin uptake.  A little quality dark chocolate (70% cacao & up) – reduces cortisol, high in antioxidants and generally makes you feel good inside! 


Drink Water (1.5-2L daily).  It is essential for nutrient transport and toxic waste product disposal in the body.

Eat breakfast – Try oats OR quinoa porridge for sustained energy.

It is important to eat every few hours to support blood sugar levels & brain function.

Include small amount of quality protein including vegetarian sources at each meal to improve energy and neurological function. - nuts & nut butters, seeds, chickpeas, free range eggs.

If you experience mild nausea due to anxiety fresh grated ginger in hot water may help.

Take Part in a JOYOUS activity of your choice DAILY. - yoga, skating, climbing, dancing, ...make a list.


AVOID:  Excessive caffeine, excess salt, fast/processed food, soft drink and alcohol.  - as these contribute to blood sugar dis-regulation and create stress in your body. 

Excessive sweating and stress can also lower essential vitamin and mineral levels.

‘Knowledge is power’

Education about anxiety & depression is an empowering way to manage them.    As well as dietary adjustments there is a vast array of options to choose from.
These can include: education about anxiety & cognitive therapy with a psychologist, relaxation & breathing techniques, assertive training groups, self-esteem building & behavioral management, exercise & meditation. 

‘Know that help is always a Phone Call away’

  • Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636

  • Anxiety Recovery Centre Victoria: Help Line Tel. (03) 9830 0533 or 1300 ANXIETY (269 438)

  • Anxiety Disorder Association of Victoria: (03) 9853 8089

  • Australian Psychological Referral Service Tel. (03) 8662 3300 or 1800 333 497

  • Lifeline 13 11 14           


Through thorough dietary and lifestyle evaluation a naturopath can implement a holistic individualised dietary program, herbs and nutritional supplements to support emotional health & healing on your wellness journey.  

Assist with Pathology Testing to assess underlying causes.   These can include: Food Intolerance testing, hormone testing, stool analysis, full thyroid function profile, MTHFR gene testing and other relevant testing.

Christine Carley is a bachelor qualified naturopath supporting her clients with chronic conditions, mental, hormonal and gut health, stress, anxiety, fatigue and sleep.  She has a strong commitment to her clients and offers ongoing holistic treatment plans.   She has been facilitating trans-personal practices for 17 years.  Having experienced a chronic health condition called fibromyalgia or M.E., for many years and since childhood, she is now the most healthy version of herself she has ever been and lives totally pain free. She currently practices at Western Health Collective in Melbourne, Australia and is available for online consultations via SKYPE or FaceTime.

For more on her retreats and holistic wellness program touch here:


or call (61+) 0409027221


Western Health Collective, West Footscray   9687 5670

Love Thy Health, West Footscray  0409 027 221    


This article provides general information and is not intended to constitute advice. All care is taken to ensure information is accurate and relevant. Please see your Practitioner for health treatments and advice.

Here is some more information from Kelly Brogan ND (former Psychiatrist) on how to reclaim your mental health using natural medicine.