Can you eat your way to happiness?

You may be surprised to learn that eating can have a positive effect on your brain chemistry, and that’s ultimately the release anyone wants under the stranglehold of depression or anxiety.

And no, ice cream isn’t one of the good ones so put that tub back in the freezer. What? You’ve already finished it? Read on for help.

Food for happiness


Low folate levels are linked to depression. So, there’s no harm in getting on top of recommended folate intake. Also, folate improves the effectiveness of antidepressant drugs.

Folate can be found naturally in vegies such as leafy greens, legumes, rice, avocado, fruit and, strangely, liver.

One in 12 Aussie women don’t eat enough folate according to Australian Bureau of Statistics figures released in 2015, while folate deficiency is less common in men.

Amino acids

Tryptophan is an amino acid that is used by nerve cells in the brain to make serotonin, the happy chemical, and melatonin, a hormone that increases sleep quality and length.

As tryptophan is present in proteins, food such as eggs, milk, fish, meat, poultry, dairy, seeds and legumes are good sources.

beyondblue recommends two to three servings of oily fish a week for your omega-3s too.


Okay, water isn’t a food, but what the heck. Bear with me.

Apparently even minor dehydration causes us to flip it. Who would’ve thought it?

Take a water bottle to your next meeting to keep a lid on your worsening mood, irritability and restlessness. Although, surely these are reasonable reactions to meetings? Cancel all meetings we say!

Reducing sugar

Sugar comes with its own false highs and lows that can interfere with your life.

Limiting caffeine

Most people already have a pretty clear handle on their caffeine habits.

beyondblue however recommends limiting yourself to 2 coffees per day or none for people with anxiety.

Unfortunately some of the side effects of going cold turkey on a caffeine addiction are depression and headaches, so good luck with that anxiety sufferers. Luckily, these symptoms are usually temporary and most people who kick the habit are over the worst of it in 3 days.

Help for mental health

Mental health issues are increasingly becoming more top of mind and we’re here to help support you and your family through mental health conditions.

Peoplecare members with Mid or Premium hospital cover have free access to their own personal mental health coach through the phone-based MindStep program. The service provides an invaluable guide through the mental health system and cognitive behavioural therapy over the course of six weeks.

If you have a mental health condition like anxiety or depression and would like to find out if the program is right for you, you can ask our experts, call us on 1800 808 690 or send an email to


Source: beyondblue

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