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Good Mood Food - 7 Foods to Boost Mental Health

By: Judy Phillips - from her book Good Life Great Food

One in five Australians aged 16-85 experience a mental illness in any year.

A healthy, balanced diet can go a long way to improving mental and physical well-being and while it may not be a cure-all for the millions of Australians suffering from mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, it is a safe and positive first step to promote a happy and healthy mind.

Using recipes made from wholefoods that are fresh, healthy, and mood boosting, such as lean meats, fish, eggs, dairy and green leafy vegetables, can help foster a healthy mind.

The following information is from Aussie foodie, personal trainer, and mental health advocate, Judy Phillips who has re-released her book Good Life Great Food: Recipes for Loving and Sharing with ALL proceeds going to The Black Dog Institute.

Here is a list of seven mood-boosting foods and great recipes from Judy's book so you can incorporate them into your daily dining:

1 Yoghurt
Yoghurt and other fermented foods contain loads of healthy bacteria, (probiotics) essential in maintaining a healthy gut. One recent study reduced the anxiety levels in mice just by giving them yoghurt bacteria2 "There is growing literature showing a strong correlation between gut health and mental well-being," says Judy

2 Avocados
Avocados have been getting a bad write-up lately thanks to their hefty price tag, but these buttery delights are rich in monounsaturated fats which help blood flow to the brain.

3 Beetroot
Like broccoli, beetroot is high in folic acid as well as fibre, manganese and potassium. Double it the goodness by also including brain-boosting walnuts.

An apple a day…It might not keep the doctor away but according to researchers at Cornell University the chemicals found in apples and their skins can help protect the delicate neurons in your brain. "Sometimes it's also nice to share a really delicious warm dessert with friends. The smell alone will brighten up your day!"

5 Salmon
Omega-3 fatty acids, found in salmon, ocean trout, seaweed and walnuts, are essential for healthy brain function. And important feel-good chemicals are made in healthy, happy brains.

6 Broccolini
It's no surprise that greens are good for you, but broccoli and broccolini are among the high achievers thanks to their folic acid and other nutrients important for mood regulation, energy and quality sleep.

7 Chicken/eggs
"Chicken or the egg? It doesn't matter which one comes first… just make sure you eat them!" Judy says. "Chicken, eggs, turkey and fish are all good proteins that provide the building blocks for a healthy nervous system."

Recipes for all dishes mentioned above are detailed in Life Great Food: Recipes for Loving and Sharing (RRP $35), which can be purchased at selected bookstores or online at


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