How food can improve your mood

How food can improve your mood


We’ve all felt the effects of food on our mood, so it would stand to reason that dietary intervention for mental health would be well studied and a regularly deployed treatment. 

But this is far from reality, as historically, psychiatry was only concerned with what happened from the neck up.

In today’s episode, Jonathan is joined by Felice Jacka, Professor of Nutritional Psychiatry and Director of the Food & Mood Centre at Deakin University. Felice was the driving force behind the landmark study to determine if dietary intervention could help treat the symptoms of moderate to severe depression. 

With her help, we dive into what the science suggests regarding the relationship between food and our mental health and what foods we can eat to improve it. 

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00:00 - Intro

00:09 - Jonathan’s introduction

01:28 - Quick-fire questions

02:08 - What do we mean when we talk about 'mood'?

03:40 - Is it true that we're much more focused on mental health? 

05:11 - How do we think about the relationship between our bodies and our mind today?

07:01 - Felice’s journey into psychiatry 

08:24 - PHD looking into the relationship between diet and mental health

11:44 - The SMILEs Trial

13:22 - How much did diet affect the participants in the study?

15:40 - How long does it take to see results?

16:40 - What role does body weight have in this debate?

17:22 - How important is it that we focus on the quality of our diet over calories? 

18:20 - What is the gut-brain axis and the microbiota gut-brain axis?

19:12 - Gut disorders and mental health issues closely related

21:25 - The effects of gut bacteria on the brain

21:58 - What is orthorexia and how is that linked to anxiety?

23:16 - Is there a risk with using diet to treat mental illness?

24:20 - What do healthy diets from across the world have in common?

25:52 - Foods to eat more of or less of to improve mood

27:24 - Diversity in diet

29:12 - Effects of diet on the menopause

32:10 - How does our mental health affect how we eat?

33:20 - What part does the industrialized food system have to play on a social level?

34:14 - How ultra-processed foods impact us

37:06 - Summary

Episode transcripts are available here.

Visit The Food and Mood Centre’s website for more information on Deakin University’s world-leading, multi-disciplinary research:

Read Felice’s SMILEs Trail here.

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This podcast was produced by Fascinate Productions.

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