Serve up good food for a good mood

(Consumer Reports) - Years of research have demonstrated that a healthy diet can help cut the risks of illnesses, everything from diabetes to some cancers. Now, a growing number of studies suggest that food choices may have an effect on our emotions.

Studies claim what you eat can affect your mood. (Consumer Reports)

Kim-Adele Rosner went on a quest to get back in shape after her children went to college. She started working out and changed her diet.

"It's higher protein, a lot less carbs and//healthy fat. I am in a much better mood. I'm able to focus more. I have a lot more energy," Rosner said.

And she is motivated to keep it up.

"I get a lot of comments now ... ‘Oh my God Kim-Adele, you're radiant, you're in such a great mood.’"

A Mediterranean diet like Kim's that includes olive oil, nuts, fatty fish, and whole grains contain lots of folate and vitamin B12, which have been associated with a reduced risk of depression!

Why your food choices may affect mood isn't totally clear, but some scientists have a "gut feeling" it may be related to your microbiome - the ever-changing mix of good and bad bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract.

"The healthy bacteria in your digestive system actually produces neurotransmitters which are chemicals that help control your mood,” Consumer Reports health editor Trish Calvo said. “In fact, about 90 percent of serotonin, which you normally think of as a brain chemical, is actually produced in your digestive system."

Yogurt is great to include because it contains probiotics -- the good bacteria -- and make sure you eat food that feeds good bacteria such as garlic, leeks, onions and asparagus.

And veggies -- they may boost your mood in another way!.

"Vegetables not only have fiber that help feed the healthy bacteria, but research has shown that the more vegetables you eat, the better your mood. Spinach, swiss chard, and fresh herbs like basil are among the veggies that have the biggest mood boost effect," Calvo explained.

And research shows -- with many nutritionists agreeing -- stay away from ultra-processed foods and drinks that contain lots of added sugars and additives!

CR says when it comes to eating for a better mood; it's about more than what's on the end of your fork.