Food and Mood


Sugar is not always sweet to us. Eating high carbohydrates, sugary sweet candy, pop, cakes and pies can have an unpleasant effect on our moods and behaviors.

Doctors know very little about nutrition, and a lot about medications. They will prescribe a medication, come up with a treatment plan to help cure an ailment, disease or syndrome, but what caused that ailment in the first place? The body is an amazing creation, that is designed by God to heal, if we eat the right foods.

About 2 weeks ago, my family and I visited a nutritionist. She was helping us decide what foods to eat to help with our specific needs. Her main theme was, “Eat real foods.” More and more, we are eating organic, fresh vegetables, fruits and grains. More and more, we feel calm, peaceful and patient.

According to, in an article titled “How Food Affects your Mood,” by Elaine Magee, the tryptophan which is in nearly all protein, is transferred to the brain easier through appropriate carbohydrates. When the tryptophan enters the brain, more Serotonin (a brain chemical) is produced, leading to better mood regulation. She suggests eating more fruits and vegetables to aid in this transfer.

Some super foods that are known to lower stress include asparagus, almonds, blueberries, turkey, spinach, kale, tuna, salmon and walnuts. Some of these foods have the protein needed for increased Serotonin. Others have the non-essential amino acid tryptophan, aiding the process.

One rule of thumb that seems to work well for me personally is this: never eat a carb. without a protein. For example, if I know that we will be having a sweet treat at our weekly meeting (cake, cookies, pies), I will eat my lunch first – or at least the tuna fish. That way, my body is getting the protein before the sugar. It seems to metabolize differently in my body, and I feel better.

If you want to learn more about how your food is affecting your mood, I will gladly work with you one on one. First we will have you complete a “food/mood diary” tracking what you are eating, when you are eating, and how it affects your moods and emotions. Then I will make some customized suggestions for you, specifically. Then we will track it again, and notice any improvements and changes that occur.

Obviously, some mental health issues require more than simply a change of intake, but it is always helpful to gain some more insight into your particular reactions to foods and moods.

Call me if you’d like more help. I would be happy to serve you.
Faith Gallup, LCSW

anxiety resources

helpful websites

  • TroubledWith: Stress
    Excellent collection of resources on dealing with anxiety disorders, as well as when and how to seek treatment.
  • Anxiety Disorders Association of America (ADAA)
    National, non-profit membership organization dedicated to informing the public, healthcare professionals and legislators about anxiety disorders, promote the early diagnosis, treatment and cure of anxiety disorders, and improve the lives of the people who suffer from them.
  • Freedom From Fear
    National not-for-profit mental health advocacy association developed to impact, in a positive way, the lives of all those affected by anxiety, depressive and related disorders through advocacy, education, research and community support.