Serotonin – something we all want more of for our kids, our partners and ourselves.

With 1 in 6 Australians– 1 in 5 women and 1 in 8 men suffering from depression¹ we should be society seeking out all the tools we can put in our ‘wellness kit’ to reduce of the risk factors associated with this debilitating mental condition.

Michele Chevalley Hedge, qualified nutritionist, has been researching the effects of food, mood, anxiety and depression for many years.  Hedge says, “The article released this week in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, High glycaemic index diet as a risk factor for Depression, should be sending off flares of hope to doctors, counsellors, and those who are not able to perform their daily functions due to depression and mental health disorders.”

Food certainly isn’t the only risk factor in depression, but this article coupled with the recent Lancet article, Nutritional medicine as mainstream in psychiatry should have adults and teenagers thinking about how diet could be a useful tool in improving mental health.

Serotonin is that neurotransmitter that influences our brain cells related to mood, sexual desire and function, appetite and sleep. Modern day drugs for treating depression are called SSRI, serotonin-specific reuptake inhibitors, may be more effective if a person is eating a whole food diet without processed, sugary foods.

When a diet is full of grab and go snacks and meals we are often not getting the protein and the Vitamin B’s that we need for our bodies to make the natural conversation from tryptophan to serotonin.

Five key ways to improve your moods and increase your happy hormones:

  1. Dump the junk. Sugary foods and high GI foods are crowding out the room for meals that are rich in protein and Vitamins B’s, the two key components for serotonin.
  2. Add the grain. Occasional grains, like brown rice and quinoa are a rich source of vitamin B. Vitamin B is also our energy vitamin, without energy, it is easy to become depressed.
  3. Eat clean. A diet full of whole foods doesn’t contain added sugar. Excess sugar can cause digestive issues like candida, IBS, and leaky gut. Not good when more than 75 % of our serotonin is made in our gut.
  4. Zinc it up. Zinc deficiency has been linked to increased depressive symptoms. Pumpkin and sesame seeds are high in zinc and easy foods to sprinkle on salad, yoghurt or to toss into a smoothie.
  5. Embrace fat. The brain is made up largely of fat. Omega-3 fatty acids can provide a range of neurochemical activities and mood disorders. Salmon, walnuts, sardines olives, avocado are some of the highest source of omega 3 foods.

¹ Beyond Blue

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com
  • Have already made these changes to my diet. I aim for at least 30 minutes outside in the fresh air every day too


  • happy hormone


  • Interesting article




  • Zinc and omega 3. Thanks for an interesting read.


  • Thanks for sharing this article. I found it really interesting and learnt a lot about how food affects mood in a way that I’d not thought of before.


  • Thank you for this info, everyone says to eat well for health & wellbeing but I’ve never had it explained like this before :)


  • Thanks for an interesting article on Serotonin.


  • Thank you so much, that is very interesting


  • I know food impacts our mental healthy but I didn’t know the nitty gritty details explained hear. Understanding how food influences our physiology helps provide better motivation to eat well. Thanks for the info, a small start but I’m going to try replace one sugary snack with veggies and dip this week.


  • INTERESTING read and great tips ..thanx for sharing.


  • Good info here. Interesting that good food leads to good mood.


  • what a fabulously interesting read :)


  • I will have to increase healthy eating in the hope it will make my medication that i am on work a little better for me thanks for pointing that out. I never knew it could be found in foods. I just thought it was something the body produced.


  • Never knew that serotonin could be in our diet – will certainly keep this in mind in future.


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