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Did you know the foods we eat can impact our mood?

The Food-Mood connection got a major boost to it’s reputation with recent completion of the ‘SMILES’ trial, an acronym for ‘Supporting the Modification of Lifestyle in Lowered Emotional States’.

Researchers wanted to see whether a modified Mediterranean style diet (termed the ModiMedDiet) could improve depression scores over just a few short months as compared to a ‘social support’ control group. 

Here’s what the study participants ate over 12 weeks: 

  • Based off of a traditional Mediterranean diet, designed using the Dietary Guidelines for Adults in Greece and Mediterranean diet principles from PREDIMED
  • Whole, unprocessed, nutrient-dense foods with ‘extras’ (sweets, processed meats, cereals) limited to less than three times per week
  • Daily: Nuts, leafy greens, tomatoes, olive oil and diary 
  • Moderately throughout the week: fatty fish, legumes, lean red meat 

So what happened?

A 24.3% high rate of remission (relief) from depressive symptoms with the modified Mediterranean diet

(Remission was defined as a Montgomery-Asberg depression rating scale (MADRS) of <10).

The bottom line – more plants in the diet can be a helpful aid in supporting the microbiome & boosting our mood!

Mood Supporting Foods

Green leafy vegetablesKale, Microgreens, Collard Greens, Spinach, Cabbage, Beet Greens, Watercress, Romaine Lettuce
Other VegetablesOther Colorful Vegetables(see Phytonutrient Spectrum Foods attached)
NutsAny kind. Walnuts, Almonds, Pistachios, Cashews, etc.
BerriesBlueberries, Raspberries, Blackberries
BeansBlack Beans, Pinto Beans, Chickpeas, Lentils
Whole GrainsOatmeal, Quinoa, Brown rice
Wild caught Fish Salmon, sardines, trout, tuna and mackerel 
Omega 3 Rich Foods (Non-fish, Vegan options)Flax, Walnuts
Olive Oil: Use as your main oilLook for olive oil with a high polyphenol content
Raw Cacoa Unprocessed cocoa is called Raw cacoa and  is a great source of fiber and minerals