Good mood food

How ‘eating the rainbow’ can boost your mental wellbeing

With the New Year well and truly upon us (and the excesses of Christmas a distant memory!), many of us are focusing our attention onto the food we put into our body. We’ve all heard the phrase ‘you are what you eat’ and know that eating plenty of fruit and veggies is good for physical health. But did you know that what you eat can also affect your mental health?

It’s true! Phytonutrients are plant-based compounds that give fruit and veggies their vibrant colours and can play a significant role in boosting your mood and wellbeing. So let’s find out more about eating the rainbow (we’re not talking about devouring a bag of lollies!) and explore the world of good mood food.


Red – the colour of love

Packed with a powerful antioxidant called lycopene, red food like tomatoes, strawberries and red capsicum can support heart health [1] and help to reduce inflammation. They can also help to protect your brain cells from oxidative stress [2], which occurs when your body has too many free radicals (unstable atoms that can damage cells in the body) and not enough antioxidants to fight them off.


Orange – the golden glow

Associated with feelings of joy and positivity, vibrant delights such as oranges, carrots, corn and sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene and vitamin C which can support brain health and mental clarity, helping to ensure your mind is fully active and engaged [3,4].


Green – calmness and serenity

Full of a B-vitamin called folate (which is especially important for pregnant women), leafy greens, broccoli and avocado can help to regulate your mood and relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety [5].


Blue – diminish the blues!

Fruit and veggies like blueberries, blackberries, eggplant and plums are loaded with anthocyanins, an antioxidant that can support brain health, fight inflammation [6,7] and help to calm your mind and reduce anxiety.


White – wonder food

Containing allicin which can help to reduce feelings of irritability and may improve blood flow to the brain, food like cauliflower, mushrooms, garlic and onion can help to promote a sense of balance and mental clarity [8,9].


10 easy ways to eat more fruit and veg

So now you know the benefits of eating the rainbow, how can you get more fruit and veggies into your day? It’s easy! Try to:

  • fill up half your plate with veggies, including two or three colours
  • eat with the seasons (fruit and veggies in season are cheaper!)
  • prepare at least one vegetarian meal each week
  • pair up veggie sticks (like carrots, cucumber, snow peas and capsicum) with hummus or avocado dip for a delicious and healthy snack
  • chop up veggies in advance and keep them in the fridge to save time
  • add grated veggies into dishes like pasta sauces, curries, stir-fries and omelettes
  • entice your tastebuds by adding some mixed berries to your Greek yoghurt
  • dress up your muesli or rolled oats with chopped fruit or berries
  • blend fruit and leafy greens for a nutritious smoothie
  • reach for fruit as a quick and healthy snack when you’re on the go.


Incorporating colourful fruit and veggies into your daily diet will unlock the power of good mood food and nourish your body with a variety of essential nutrients. And (an added bonus!) you’ll be creating Insta-worthy meals in no time!