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  • Writer's pictureAshburton FP

Mood & Food in the time of COVID 🥗🧘🏽‍♀️

Updated: Jul 28, 2020

With the second lockdown, a large number of patients have presented struggling with their mental health.

During these stressful times, it is increasingly important that we stick to routines and encourage behaviours which can foster better mental health and overall well being 🙏🏽🌟

Improving Mental Health doesn’t always just mean medication or psychotherapy - at Ashburton Family Practice we have always encouraged a lifestyle focus on maintaining good health first! 🌱

Daily changes made in your normal routines, starting with what you EAT, have been found to be a powerful factor in influencing mood 😛


You’ve probably heard it countless times in the past; “make sure you get your 5 serves of fruit & veg per day”! 🥬🍌🍉

Whilst you may already know that your diet has a big impact on your physical health, it may surprise you to learn that recent findings from the Mood and Food centre, Deakin University, show that a healthy diet can also improve your MENTAL health directly 🧠

Consuming a healthy diet, rich in fruit, nu

ts, berries, vegetables & whole grains increases feelings of wellbeing. One recent study found that a Mediterranean-style diet, supplemented with fish oil, lead to REDUCTION in depression among participants (1).


So HOW can you make the change?

  1. Switch to more unprocessed, whole foods

  2. Aim to “eat the rainbow”! The more colour you consume through choosing a variety of fruit & vegetables, the better!

  3. Incorporate lean proteins (e.g. chicken, fish), whole grains and healthy fats (e.g. avocado, nuts, olive oil)

  4. Try to limit refined carbohydrates, foods that are high in simple sugars or saturated fats, soft drink & alcohol

  5. Supplement with 1 to 2 g/day of an EPA+DHA Omega Oil combination, with at least 60% EPA (2, 3, 7)

  6. Educate yourself on how Food effects Mood!! There is a free online course available from Deakin University on the subject - link is down below! (4, 5)

  7. Reach out & arrange a consultation with us if you are struggling with your mental health or diet. We can help guide you, and refer you to an experienced dietician if required 👨‍⚕️


It’s also important to note that you DON’T need a diagnosed mental illness to incorporate these ideas into your lifestyle. These are great ways to boost your mood overall, and can be useful in improving resilience.


Conversely, whilst diet is great to boost your mental health, it may not be enough for everyone suffering from a mental illness. Some mental health disorders will be serious enough to warrant psychotherapy or medication, and this should be discussed with one of the doctors at our practice.

  1. Parletta, N., Zarnowiecki, D., Cho, J., Wilson, A., Bogomolova, S., Villani, A., Itsiopoulos, C., Niyonsenga, T., Blunden, S., Meyer, B., Segal, L., Baune, B. and O’Dea, K. (2017). A Mediterranean-style dietary intervention supplemented with fish oil improves diet quality and mental he alth in people with depression: A randomized controlled trial (HELFIMED). Nutritional Neuroscience, pp.1-14.


  3. Information on omega oil supplements in depression -

  4. Food and Mood: Improving Mental Health Through Diet and Nutrition - free online course from Deakin University -

  5. How diet can influence your mental health (podcastp - prof Felice Jacka

  6. SMILES trial - Prof Jacka, Deakin University -

  7. Depression is an illness of western civilisation - Stephen Illardi (TED talk)

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