6 Foods That Can Support Your Mental Health

6 Foods That Can Support Your Mental Health

We think a lot about the physical effects of what we eat as athletes, but our diet can have a big impact on our mental health as well.

Research shows that using interventions to change what people eat can significantly reduce depression and anxiety.

Arming yourself with knowledge on what you can eat to improve the health of your brain can help you to get the most out of everyday life.

Here are six foods that can improve your mental health.


Your gut has a significant influence on your mood due to the link between it and the brain through the vagus nerve, which runs from the brain stem to the gut. Yogurt is full of probiotics which are great for your gut health and have been shown to reduce depression and anxiety.


Leafy greens are one of the best foods to include in your diet. They are high in folic acid, a form of vitamin B9 that can protect you against depression, and improve sleep which has a major impact on your mood.


Salmon is known for being one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids which improve our health in a number of ways. Research shows they can improve learning and memory as well as reduce depression. Salmon also contains plenty of vitamin D, which is also linked to stable moods.


This one will come as good news to many meat-eating athletes as chicken is a favourite lean protein source. It’s also a source of tryptophan, an amino acid which helps the body produce serotonin. Regulating levels of serotonin helps protect you against depression.

Whole Grains

Examples of whole grains include beans, oats and wild rice, all of which improve the brain’s ability to absorb tryptophan. This means if you partner whole grains with chicken, you could get a better boost in the production of serotonin.


In western cultures, a lot of people eat snacks that are high in refined sugars, but nuts offer an alternative that’s high in omega-3 fatty acids. Walnuts are a great choice if you’re looking to boost your omega-3 intake, while almonds provide a compound called phenylalanine which improves dopamine production.