In recent years, the connection between diet and mental health has gained significant attention. While the adage "you are what you eat" traditionally emphasises physical health, emerging research suggests that our diet plays a crucial role in mental well-being as well. This blog post explores how different nutrients affect mental health, highlights specific foods that can support mood, contribute to calmness, and support cognitive function, and provides practical tips for incorporating these foods into a daily diet. 

The Link Between Nutrition and Mental Health 

The brain, like the rest of the body, requires a variety of nutrients to function optimally. Deficiencies in certain vitamins and minerals can lead to mental health issues, just as they can cause physical ailments. Conversely, a diet rich in specific nutrients can support mental clarity and overall well-being. [1] 

Key Nutrients for Mental Health 

• Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Found in fish, flaxseeds, and walnuts, omega-3 fatty acids are essential for brain health. They play a critical role in building brain cell membranes and promoting new neural connections. Studies indicate that omega-3s can help support overall well-being. [2] 

• B Vitamins: These vitamins, particularly B6, B9 (folate), and B12, are vital for brain health. They help produce and regulate neurotransmitters, the chemicals that transmit signals in the brain. Foods rich in B vitamins include leafy greens, beans, whole grains, and meats. [3] 

• Vitamin D: Often referred to as the "sunshine vitamin," vitamin D is crucial for supporting mood balance. It’s found in fatty fish, fortified dairy products, and can be synthesised by the skin upon exposure to sunlight. [4] 

• Antioxidants: Vitamins C and E, along with other antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables, protect the brain from oxidative stress. This stress can damage brain cells and is linked to various health issues. [5] 

• Magnesium: This mineral helps regulate neurotransmitters and has a calming effect on the brain. Magnesium-rich foods include nuts, seeds, legumes, and dark leafy greens. [6] 

• Amino Acids: The building blocks of proteins, amino acids like tryptophan are essential for the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood. Foods high in tryptophan include turkey, eggs, and cheese. [7] 

Practical Tips for a Nutrient-Rich Diet  

Incorporating these nutrient-rich foods into your daily diet can be simple and enjoyable. Here are some practical tips: 

• Include fish in your meals: Aim to eat fish like salmon or mackerel a few times a week to increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids. 

• Add leafy greens to your diet: Incorporate spinach, kale, or Swiss chard into salads, smoothies, or as side dishes to increase your B vitamin intake. 

• Get some sunshine: Spend time outdoors to help your body synthesise vitamin D naturally. 

• Snack on nuts and seeds: Keep almonds, walnuts, or pumpkin seeds handy for a quick magnesium intake. 

• Choose whole grains: Opt for whole grain bread, pasta, and cereals to benefit from the B vitamins and other nutrients they contain. 

• Enjoy a variety of fruits and vegetables: Aim for a colourful plate to ensure a range of antioxidants and other essential nutrients. 

By making mindful choices and incorporating these nutrient-dense foods into your diet, you can support your overall well-being and health when consumed as part of a healthy and varied diet. 

Foods That Support Mental Health as Part of a Healthy Diet 

Fatty Fish 

Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for brain health. These fish are also high in vitamin D, which supports overall well-being. 

Incorporation Tip: Aim to eat fatty fish at least twice a week. If you’re not a fan of fish, consider taking a high-quality fish oil supplement. 

Leafy Greens 

Leafy greens such as spinach, kale, and Swiss chard are packed with folate, which supports the production of dopamine – a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and motivation. 

Incorporation Tip: Add a handful of spinach to your morning smoothie or enjoy a fresh salad with your lunch or dinner. 

Nuts and Seeds 

Rich in magnesium and healthy fats, nuts and seeds like almonds, walnuts, and flaxseeds support brain health. They can help reduce inflammation and support cognitive function. 

Incorporation Tip: Snack on a handful of nuts, sprinkle seeds on your yoghurt or oatmeal, or blend them into smoothies. 

Whole Grains 

Whole grains such as oats, quinoa, and brown rice are excellent sources of B vitamins and fiber. They help regulate blood sugar levels, supporting mood stability. 

Incorporation Tip: Start your day with a bowl of oatmeal or incorporate quinoa into salads and side dishes. 


Berries like blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries are high in antioxidants, which protect the brain from oxidative stress. 

Incorporation Tip: Add berries to your breakfast cereal, smoothies, or enjoy them as a healthy dessert. 

Fermented Foods 

Fermented foods such as yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi contain probiotics that support gut health. A healthy gut microbiome is linked to overall well-being due to the gut-brain connection. 

Incorporation Tip: Include a serving of fermented foods in your diet daily, whether it's a cup of yoghurt or a side of sauerkraut. 

Expert Opinions 

Nutritionists' Viewpoints 

According to Jane Clarke, a renowned dietitian and author, "The food we consume has a profound impact on our overall well-being. By ensuring our diet includes a variety of nutrient-dense foods, we can support brain function and overall mood as part of a healthy lifestyle." 

Psychologists' Perspectives 

Dr. Elizabeth Cohen, a clinical psychologist, emphasises the importance of diet in supporting mental health: "While therapy and medication are critical components of mental health treatment, nutrition should not be overlooked. A balanced diet can complement these treatments and support overall well-being." 

Practical Tips for Incorporating Mental Health-Supporting Foods 

• Plan Your Meals: Create a weekly meal plan that includes a variety of nutrient-rich foods. This ensures you’re getting a balanced intake of essential vitamins and minerals. 

• Cook at Home: Preparing meals at home allows you to control the ingredients and avoid unhealthy additives found in processed foods. 

• Stay Hydrated: Proper hydration is vital for brain function. Aim to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day and limit caffeine and alcohol intake. 

• Mindful Eating: Pay attention to how different foods make you feel. Keep a food diary to track your mood and dietary habits, and make adjustments as needed. 

• Supplements: If you struggle to get enough nutrients from food alone, consider high-quality supplements. Consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen. 

Featured Products for Mental Health Support 

Incorporating specific supplements into your diet can provide essential nutrients that may be lacking in your daily meals. Here are two highly recommended products from Functional Self that can support your journey to overall well-being: 

Rosita Extra Virgin Cod Liver Oil (EVCLO)  

Rosita Extra Virgin Cod Liver Oil is a premium, sustainably sourced cod liver oil that provides a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins A and D, and other essential nutrients. This natural, unprocessed oil is extracted using traditional methods to maintain its purity and nutritional integrity. 


Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Omega-3s, particularly EPA and DHA, are beneficial for brain health. They help support neurotransmitter function and cognitive health as part of a balanced diet. 

Vitamin D: Adequate vitamin D levels are important for maintaining overall health. This vitamin supports general well-being. 

Vitamin A: Important for maintaining healthy vision and immune function, vitamin A also supports overall health. 

How to Use: 

Take one teaspoon daily, either on its own or mixed with a small amount of juice to mask the taste. 

For the Softgels: Store in a cool, dark place to preserve its quality. 

For the Liquid: refrigerate after opening. Consume within 3 months after opening. 

Incorporation Tips: 

Add to your morning smoothie for a more nutritious start to your day.

Take it alongside a meal to improve absorption and reduce any potential aftertaste.  

Product Here: Rosita Extra Virgin Cod Liver Oil (EVCLO) 

Smidge Morning Magnesium  

Smidge Morning Magnesium is a gentle, highly bioavailable magnesium supplement designed to support your body’s magnesium levels throughout the day. This product uses a unique formulation to ensure efficient absorption without causing digestive discomfort. 


Magnesium for Health Support: Magnesium plays a role in brain function and supports overall well-being. 

Energy Production: Magnesium is essential for energy production and can help reduce fatigue. 

Nervous System Support: This mineral supports the proper functioning of the nervous system. 

How to Use: 

Take one capsule in the morning with water, preferably with food to support absorption. 

Consistent daily use is recommended for the best results. 

Incorporation Tips: 

Include it as part of your morning routine alongside breakfast. 

Pair with other supplements or a balanced diet for comprehensive health support.  

Product Here: Smidge Morning Magnesium 

By following the guidelines above, you can enjoy a healthier, more balanced mind through the power of nutrition. Remember, your mental health is just as important as your physical health, and taking care of both through mindful eating can lead to a happier, more fulfilling life. 

The connection between diet and mental health is profound and well-supported by emerging research. By incorporating a variety of nutrient-dense foods into your daily diet, you can significantly support your mental wellbeing. Key nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, vitamin D, antioxidants, magnesium, and amino acids play crucial roles in maintaining a balanced mind and promoting overall health. 

By making mindful dietary choices and considering high-quality supplements like Rosita Extra Virgin Cod Liver Oil and Smidge Morning Magnesium, you can support your mental clarity, mood stability, and cognitive function. Remember, small dietary changes can lead to significant improvements in your mental health and overall wellbeing. 

For more tips, recipes, and insights on how to support your mental health through nutrition, visit our blog section. If you're interested in exploring our range of high-quality health products, check out our complete product selection here

Take the first step towards a balanced mind and a healthier lifestyle today. Start incorporating these nutrient-dense foods and supplements into your diet, and experience the positive changes they can bring to your mental and physical health. 

1 The Impact of Nutrients on Mental Health and Well-Being 
2 Brain foods: the effects of nutrients on brain function - PMC 
3 B Vitamins: Functions and Uses in Medicine - PMC 
4 Vitamin D - Health Professional Fact Sheet 
5 Free radicals, antioxidants and functional foods: Impact on human health 
6 Magnesium - Health Professional Fact Sheet 
7 Neurotransmitters Regulation and Food Intake: The Role of Dietary Sources in Neurotransmission