How Foods Affect Your Mental Health Wellness

Which specific foods for mental health wellness should you incorporate into your diet and which ones should you avoid? Get a trusted answer on HealthyPlace.

Foods for mental health wellness are important to know when building and promoting your mental health. When working to build mental health wellness, each area of your life needs to be incorporated in the promotion of a healthy lifestyle, including diet. This means it’s important to eat the right foods for mental health wellness.

Up to this point, if you haven’t been eating healthy foods, there are significant changes that can be made to get you on track. To begin, it is best to limit processed foods that are high in fat and sugar. While they may taste good at first, they actually have a significant negative impact on mental health. They cause people to gain fat and feel lethargic. Since they take a great deal of energy to digest, they cause fatigue. Studies have found a direct link between foods that are high in fat and the prevalence of depressed mood and anxiety. Evidence also suggests that these conditions can be aggravated by dairy products and not eating enough fruits and vegetables.

Foods for Mental Health Wellness

It can be hard to modify your diet to build and maintain a lifestyle that promotes mental health wellness, but there are plenty of favorable options that promote long-term mental health and wellness. The following are foods that can be added to your diet that will promote mental wellness:

  • Foods that are rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants have properties that improve motor function, memory, and concentration. Some foods that are rich in antioxidants include:
    • Blueberries
    • Cranberries
    • Cherries
    • Dark chocolate
    • Nuts
    • Spinach
  • Fruits high in vitamin C. Fruits that are rich in vitamin C are great for cognitive function. Research suggests that such foods significantly help prevent neurodegenerative disorders, like Alzheimer’s and dementia. Foods that are high in vitamin C include:
    • Oranges
    • Grapefruit
    • Tangerines
    • Pineapple
    • Clementine’s
    • Lemons
    • Limes
  • Saffron. Saffron is an herb that helps with the regulation and relief of stress. Saffron actively helps to reduce anxiety and promotes a balanced, sound mind.  Research supports that saffron has properties that significantly boosts mood and reduces depressed feelings.
  • Fish that are high in Omega-3 fatty acids. Evidence supports that fish that are high in Omega-3 fatty acids significantly reduce symptoms of depression and play a role in the slowing down of cognitive degeneration. Fish that are high in Omega-3 fatty acids include:
    • Salmon
    • Trout
    • Anchovies
    • Tuna
    • Mackerel
  • Whole grains. Whole grains actively help support healthy blood flow to the brain and body. The oxygen that is delivered to the brain promotes healthy thoughts, cognitive functions, emotional regulation, and bodily function. All help promote mental health wellness. Whole grains that are beneficial for promoting mental health wellness include:
    • Barley
    • Quinoa
    • Oatmeal
    • Brown Rice
    • Buckwheat
  • Kava. Kava is an herb with properties that reduce the prevalence and severity of anxiety. Kava helps promote calm and peace in the body and mind, which helps you be better prepared to handle stress and emotional upset.
  • Herbal tea. While herbal tea is not necessarily a food, the properties in herbal, non-caffeinated teas have been found to actively promote a healthy and sound mind. Herbal teas help promote peace and calm, and the contents of herbal teas help reduce stress and anxious feelings. Some teas even have antioxidants and medicinal properties that actively promote mental health.

Please keep in mind that these foods for mental health wellness are just part of an overall mental health wellness plan which may include psychiatric medications, therapy, mindfulness and other tools.

See also:

List of Foods that Help and Hurt Anxiety

List of Best Foods for Fighting Depression

article references

APA Reference
Guarino, G. (2018, June 12). How Foods Affect Your Mental Health Wellness, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 15 from

Last Updated: June 15, 2018

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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