What To Eat & Avoid With Mood Disorders?

There are so many mental disorders classified as mood disorders, some of them are major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, cyclothymic disorder, persistent depressive disorder, persistent depressive disorder etc. Most of these mood disorders have more of the same symptoms, may be few symptoms are not present in some disease and the time duration for the diagnosis can be different. In this article, I will talk about the food that you can eat and the food you need to avoid if you have depression or bipolar disease. But the same diet can be followed even if you have another mood disorder because most of the time the pathophysiology of the disease and the treatment is similar in most of the mood disorders.

What To Eat With Mood Disorders?

Whole Grains. Whole grains are considered a healthy food for heart diseases, diabetes and many more. Similarly, it also has a calming effect on your mood disorders. The carbohydrates thought to increase the production of serotonin in your brain, serotonin helps to ease up the anxiety and give a feeling you are more in control. More than having simple carbohydrates have whole grain bread, pasta, crackers; brown rice and oats.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids. The omega-3 fatty acids such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) facilitate nerve signals between the nerve cells in the brain. Research is still on going to see if omega-3 is useful for depression and bipolar mood disorders as a treatment. Some believe that it helps in depression, but still this cannot be told exactly. However, omega-3 is beneficial for heart diseases therefore have more foods containing omega-3 such as tuna, mackerel, salmon, trout, sardine, eggs and flax seeds.

Selenium-Rich Food. Research has found out that selenium is beneficial in stabilizing the mood disorders and deficiency of selenium has been associated with depression and anxiety. Food rich with selenium are. tuna, sardines, turkey, beef, beef liver, shrimp, ham and Brazil nuts.

Turkey. Turkey contains high amount of tryptophan which is an amino acid that helps to induce sleep. It also helps the brain to produce serotonin which ease up the anxiety and helps you to stabilize your mood. Serotonin is helpful for people with depression, it is supposed to be helpful in mania too but only few evidences are present. Tryptophan is also present in high amounts in tofu, eggs and cheese.

Beans. All beans are from the legumes family and these are rich in magnesium. Some research studies have found out that magnesium is helpful in people with manic symptoms in bipolar disease. More evidence is needed to see if magnesium really improves the mood. Also, magnesium tends to calm down the active nervous system and regulate the cortisol production in response to stress.

Nuts. Nuts such as cashews, almond and peanuts are also rich in magnesium and should be eaten when you have mood disorders.

Probiotics. It is shown that the healthy bacteria produce serotonin and play s an important role in the body’s emotional response. Probiotics are rich in healthy bacteria. So, eat more yoghurt, miso, kimchi, and kefir.

Herbal Tea. Chamomile has been beneficial for insomnia and anxiety for years. Research studies shows that chamomile extracts can help depression and anxiety as well.

What To Avoid With Mood Disorders?

Some food can make your mood worst and make you more anxious.

Caffeine. Avoid caffeine when you have mood disorders as it makes you more anxious and makes it difficult for you fall asleep.

Alcohol. You should avoid consuming alcohol as this makes you feel more on edge and it also causes dehydration which has a negative effect on your mood disorders.

Simple Carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates such as white rice, bread, pasta, sugar, and potatoes tend to have a negative effect on your mood disorders.

Tyramine Containing Food. If you are on the drug monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) then you need to avoid food containing tyramine. The reaction can cause high blood pressure which can be very dangerous. Tyramine containing foods are. aged or processed cheese, processed meat, soybeans, fermented food and dried fruits.


The foods that you can eat which have beneficial properties for mood disorders are. Whole grains, Selenium-rich food, Omega-3 fatty acids, turkey, beans, nuts, probiotics and herbal tea. Foods you need avoid are. caffeine, alcohol, simple carbohydrates and tyramine containing food if you are on monoamine oxidase inhibitors.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:February 26, 2019

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