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Mental wellbeing: Why a bad diet can make it worse
Thursday, 30 July · 2 min read

It's easy to eat badly when you are feeling stressed - and the food you eat has an impact on the way you feel.

Studies show that eating a lot of red meat and processed foods is linked to a greater risk of depression and other mental health problems. Sweets, biscuits, sugary drinks and alcohol can also make your blood sugar rise and fall very quickly, which can affect your mood.

A diet that’s full of healthy, high-energy foods like wholegrain bread or wholewheat pasta is thought to keep your blood sugar up. This may stop you from feeling tired, irritable or depressed.

There’s also some evidence to suggest that eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables could improve your mental wellbeing.

If you've noticed a change in the way you feel lately, it could be worth looking at ways to improve your diet.

You could try:

  • cutting down on processed foods like cakes, sugary snacks or takeaways
  • eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables — look for a variety of different colours to make sure you get all the right nutrients
  • including more foods that keep your gut healthy, like beans, pulses, live yoghurt and probiotics (food or drink that contain live bacteria) — research shows that the health of your gut could also be linked to your overall mood
  • eating plenty of protein, such as lean meat, fish or cheese — your body needs this to make the chemicals that regulate your thoughts and feelings
Quote of the day

A healthy outside starts from the inside.

Robert Urich, actor

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True or false: Frozen vegetables count towards your 5 a day
More dietary tips to improve your mental wellbeing