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Feel good foods

​Food and your mental health

Need more energy, tired all the time, just feeling blah?

If this sounds like you, the simple answer could be by eating a few feel-good foods.

You’ve heard of the saying you are what you eat. But did you also know that what you eat can affect your mental health? Food can have an effect on our mood, behaviour and emotions.

Good nutrition is vital for mental health; it plays an important role in the development, management and prevention of specific mental health problems such as depression, schizophrenia, ADHD, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Research has shown that having too many processed foods which are high in fat, sugar and excess calories coupled with reduced intake of fresh whole foods can lead to nutrient deficiencies. This not only increases whole-body oxidative stress that is linked to issues such as weight gain, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, a relationship has also been shown with mental health conditions and emotional decline.

Feeling better inside and out with more vitality is possible sooner than you think.


1. Good Carbs

carbs for mental health

Brain Food = high-quality carbohydrates. Glucose is the preferred fuel source for the brain, whole grains such as barley, freekeh, quinoa, fresh fruits and vegetables are great choices. They have a lower GI which means they break down more slowly providing a sustained energy release so your mood and ability to focus isn’t crashing throughout the day. Grains are also full of B vitamins that help your body use energy, which gives us the vitality boost and feel-good hormone serotonin.

Places to buy your grains at Dandenong Market:


2. Colour Therapy

eggplants dandenong market

Eating your daily rainbow, with colourful fruits and vegetables each day will ensure that you’re getting plenty of antioxidants and vitamins such as beta-carotene and polyphenols. These nutrients help prevent DNA damage, which is a common factor in conditions such as dementia, depression, MS and schizophrenia. Make the most of spring as the different colours of fruits and vegetables come into season.

  • Yellow: squash, corn, and pineapples, mango
  • Orange: Sweet potato, pumpkin, oranges
  • Red: cherries, tomato, pomegranate, capsicum, strawberries, watermelon
  • Purple: Eggplants, grapes, blueberries, plumes, beetroots
  • Green: avocado, pear, apples, kiwi, celery, leafy greens
  • White: mushrooms, cauliflower, banana, turnips, potato, garlic

Visit all our fruit & vegetable traders here


3. Fabulous Fats

mental health food

Not all fats are the enemy, fatty acids and lipids are important for the proper function of our brains.

Enjoy tasty fatty fish like salmon, sardines, and trouts at least twice a week; these are high in omega 3 and Vitamin D, which has mood-boosting properties.

A diet high in these fats reduces total body inflammation, which is not only good for heart health it is also great at improving mental wellbeing.

Places to buy your fresh fish at Dandenong Market:


4. Protein Power

butchers dandenong market

Good sleep and stable moods can be helped with optimal serotonin levels. Amino acids from protein especially tryptophan are the building blocks that supply these to the brain.

Make sure you’re having at least one serve of quality protein at each main meal, these can include around 100g of lean meat: lamb, pork or bean.

If you’re a vegetarian don’t despair, plant-based proteins are especially great as well, as they also come with a load of beneficial fibers. Think Tofu, tempeh, beans and legumes ie chickpea, and broad beans which are coming into seasons now. Enjoy them as a side dish, in salads or in stir-fries.

Lastly, take some time out for yourself, schedule 20-30minutes each day to go for a walk or do some light exercises. Exercise releases a feel-good chemical called endorphins, which helps to lift mood and also boost self-esteem and self-confidence.

Our market butchers to buy your fresh meat at Dandenong Market:

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Dandenong Market location map

    Dandenong Market

    Clow Street & Cleeland Street
    Dandenong, VIC 3175

    Opening Hours

    Tuesday 7am - 4pm

    Wednesday CLOSED

    Thursday CLOSED

    Friday 7am - 4pm

    Saturday 7am - 4pm

    Sunday 9am-4pm

    Monday CLOSED

    Stall Number