It’s common knowledge that changing what you eat can impact your weight, blood sugar levels, blood pressure and cholesterol. Can changing what you eat impact your mood as well?  As it turns out, the answer to that question is yes, and new research underscores that conclusion.

Granted, research in the area is relatively new, but already, some interesting trends have begun to emerge.

The first intriguing discovery is that people who eat more fresh vegetables tend to have markedly fewer depressive symptoms than people who eat a traditional western diet which is heavy on meat, dairy and contains a lot of processed foods.

Science is also beginning to connect the dots between improved mental health and certain specific vitamins, minerals and other compounds.  For instance, there are now documented connections between improved mood/mental health and Selenium, Vitamin D, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, antioxidants, and vitamins A, C, E, B9, B12, and Zinc.

Again, the research is still in its infancy regarding diet and mood/mental health. However, the early indications point to a diet that heavily emphasizes fresh fruits and vegetables, the virtual elimination of processed foods from your diet, and a touch of whole grains.

In addition to that, researchers recommend increasing your intake of probiotic foods which improve the health of your gut flora. It is so important because gut health has also been shown to have an impact on your mood. Serotonin is made in the gut, so a healthy gut will help you produce more happy hormones. Here, you’ll be gravitating toward foods like Kimchi, kombucha, sauerkraut, pickles, and yogurt.

There are a number of research projects currently underway that will be wrapped up and reported on in the next 2-3 years that will dramatically increase our understanding of the connection between diet and mood. Until the data is in, researchers encourage individual experimentation.  Eat up and take notes about how different foods make you feel!