Diet & Mental Health: The Food-Mood Connection

It is said that our mental health should be of utmost importance. However, mental health problems are often neglected, 

discriminated, and stigmatized, thus mental health cases are somehow increasing over the years. Mental health problems such as  depression, anxiety, and other conditions are brought by many factors like stress, trauma, lifestyle, genetics, and environment – especially in this COVID-19 pandemic which drastically changed lifestyles and livelihoods. 

One should not self-diagnose if currently experiencing some symptoms that affects his/her way of living. No, Google is not a  doctor. Instead, immediately consult a professional to be diagnosed properly and to prevent further problems and complications – friendly reminder, prevention is better than cure

Among the aforementioned contributing factors to mental health problems, lifestyle is the one which can be modified and  improved through changes in diet, physical activity, and stress management. Mental health is regulated by hormones or neurochemicals like serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine, and other neurotransmitters, which are produced mainly through specific nutrients. Hence, there is a relationship between the food that we eat and the regulation of our mood. This is what we call the food-mood connection.  Below are the role of these hormones to our body:





Serotonin (The Happy Hormone) 

Regulates overall mood,  

appetite, and sleep


Protein-rich foods: Meat  and Meat Products, Dairy  Products, Nuts, Beans, Seeds,  and Legumes – Soy and Tofu

Norepinephrine (Fight-or-Flight  Response Hormone)

Regulates sleep, attention,  

focus, alertness, and energy.

Tyrosine and Tryptophan

Dopamine (Feel-good Hormone) 

Regulates pleasure, reward,  learning, motivation, memory,  attention, and movement.


These hormones are produced by consuming protein-rich foods, adequate fruits, vegetables, whole grain products, fish, and  other meat and meat products. Aside from food, physical activity must also be considered as it helps in the release of endorphins which is  the body’s natural pain-killer and triggers a positive feeling in our body. In addition, learning how to manage stress effectively will also  help in maintaining good mental health.

While other factors like trauma, genetics, and environment are beyond one’s control, healthy diet, physical activity, and stress  management may help a person cope up to avoid mental illnesses. 

If you know someone who is experiencing symptoms, encourage him/ her to immediately consult with a specialist to address  the concerns. REMEMBER: MENTAL HEALTH IS OF UTMOST IMPORTANCE! 

To start with healthy diet, try this #healthylicious Gardenia Three-Way Wrapped Sausage, made with Gardenia Wheat  Raisin Loaf. One slice of this bread gives 29 percent of daily dietary fiber needs, and helps improve digestive health by improving bowel  movement.

Gardenia Three-Way Wrapped Sausage


6 slices of Gardenia High Fiber Wheat Raisin 

4 pcs sausage 

2 T caramelized white onion 

2 tsp mayonnaise 

2 stalk of lettuce 

For Garnish: 

Grilled red onion 

Red bell pepper 

Green bell pepper 

Cherry tomatoes 

Green olives 


  1. Drizzle the sausage with olive oil, place in oven, bake for 5-10 minutes or until cooked. 
  2. Using a rolling pin, flatten the bread and set aside. 
  3. Once the sausage is cooked, place these on top of one flattened bread and roll it. Set aside. 
  4. In another flattened bread, spread mayonnaise and set aside. Get another flattened bread and place lettuce and caramelized onions on  top of it. 
  5. To assemble, roll the flattened bread with lettuce in the rolled sausage. Repeat the same process for the third bread with mayonnaise. 6. Slice the rolled bread into half. Using a skewer, place one sausage roll at the bottom, followed by grilled onion, red and green bell  pepper, then another sausage roll, cherry tomatoes, and green olives. Plate and serve. 


? Nutritional Psychiatry, ? Norepinephrine and Neurochemistry,