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Can food impact your mood?

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Can food impact your mood?

The foods you eat influence your mood, and your mood influences what you eat. Research has shown that specific nutrients in foods, and the foods you eat most of the time can lower the risk of developing depression, while helping manage symptoms. You can read more about these mood boosting nutrients here.

People who have higher intakes of fruits and vegetables are more likely to experience improvements in their mental health and wellbeing. Most Australians don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables, and instead eat lots of foods that are high in refined carbohydrates, salt, added sugars, and saturated fat. Poor dietary patterns are associated with detrimental effects on mental health, and increase the risk of depression. Rather than focusing on particular foods, making improvements in the quality of your usual food choices is a way increase those mood boosting nutrients, including fibre, phytonutrients, probiotics, prebiotics, omega-3 fats and magnesium

Dietary quality takes into account what a person eats most of the time, how many foods they eat from the core food groups, how often they eat these foods, and how often they eat foods that are high in saturated fats, simple sugars, and salt. To find out how healthy your eating habits are, and receive recommendations on how to improve your eating habits, take the free Healthy Eating Quiz.

We’ve put together some healthy eating tips to promote wellbeing:

  1. Start your day by eating breakfast. Skipping breakfast is associated with a higher risk of depression in both children and adults, and high risk of anxiety in adolescents. Start your day with wholegrains, such as rolled oats or whole grain toast. Add some protein from baked beans, eggs or yoghurt, plus colour from fruits or vegetables, and some healthy fats from avocado, nut butters or nuts and seeds.

  2. Build a balanced plate, and eat from the five food groups most of the time. Follow our guide to building a balanced plate by eating a variety of foods rich in the nutrients likely to benefit mental health.

  3. Maintain a regular eating pattern. Your brain is fueled by glucose which appears in your blood after eating foods that contain carbohydrates, such as breads, cereals, pasta, fruits and starchy vegetables. Your body’s metabolic processes do an amazing job at keeping blood glucose levels regulated. You can aim to eat healthy regular meals to give your brain enough energy to help it work efficiently.

  4. Keep hydrated by drinking water. Being even just slightly dehydrated can have an impact on your ability to concentrate, and can increase feelings of drowsiness and irritability. Aim to drink to thirst, but keep in mind that you know you are drinking enough if your urine is roughly the colour of straw. Choose water first rather than soft drinks or juices which are high in kilojoules and simple sugars..

  5. Consider your overall lifestyle. Sometimes food is used as a coping tool, to help regulate emotions or to provide comfort in response to stress. Take time to think about what other activities help to relieve stress or that makes you feel better. For example, reading a book, going for a walk, listening to a podcast or calling a friend.

Your Personal Healthy Eating Quiz

What you eat or don’t eat affects how you look, feel and perform. Take our short quiz to find out what foods you could introduce to help you be your best.

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What is healthy eating?

Eating healthy is making sure you enjoy a wide variety of foods from each of the five major food groups daily, in the amounts recommended. The five major food groups as recommended by the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating are:

  1. vegetables and legumes/bean
  2. fruit
  3. lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds, legumes/beans
  4. grain (cereal) foods, mostly wholegrain and/or high cereal fibre varieties
  5. milk, yoghurt, cheese and/or alternatives, mostly reduced fat.

Foods are grouped together because they provide similar amounts of key nutrients and eating a variety of foods from the list above helps to promote good health and reduce the risk of disease.

How do I improve my diet?

If you want to improve your diet you have come to the right place. By completing the Healthy Eating Quiz you’ll receive instant personalised feedback and a report on your diet quality to highlight any areas where you can improve your overall eating habits. Your score is based on the frequency and variety of the foods consumed from the five major food groups mentioned above. No Money No Time can help you improve your score by providing tips, goals and suggestions. On top of this we will provide quick, cheap and healthy recipes as well as credible answers to diet hacks, myths and FAQ’s.

Is my diet healthy?

Dietary habits are different between people. Some people choose to follow a particular diet (i.e., Keto diet or vegan diet) while some have to make changes due to certain food restrictions or health conditions. If you want to know if what you usually eat is healthy, then do the Healthy Eating Quiz today to give you the answers in less than 10 minutes.

Why is healthy eating important?

Your HEQ score and personalised feedback report is based on the frequency and variety of healthy core foods you usually eat. This is important because no single food contains all the nutrients we need to stay healthy. Some foods are higher in nutrients than others and people who have a lot of variety in the foods they eat are more likely to be healthy and to stay healthy. In other words, if you can eat a large variety of vegetables as opposed to only 2-3 types of vegetables, the benefits are much greater. This type of diet also helps you to feel better, think better and perform better during your usual daily activities.

Take the Healthy Eating Quiz