Eat Right For Mental Health (& Look Awesome Too)

Content by: 180 Nutrition

mental foodies

Angela: Meet our amazing friends the Mental Foodies (MF’s). They have an incredible story to tell and will teach you how to eat right for mental health. They have a great sense of humour so I’m sure you will learn a few things and have a good giggle.

Over to KT and Ash…

mental foodiesKT and Ash: In one sentence: we are two nutters spreading the word on how vital Food + Exercise are for your Mental health.

MF’s came about from two things: Mental Health and Food, but you probably could have guessed that. We both believe that ultimate wellness isn’t a destination, but an ongoing relationship with your own body; spiritually, mentally and physically.

Both of us have suffered, recovered and experienced a range of mental illnesses including anxiety, depression, attempted suicide, eating disorders and body dysmorphia.
We have trialled and experimented with a range of methods to improve our way of life, let us tell you it has been a bumpy road. Like others we have fallen down, but we are back up… and feeling pretty darn great. Ultimately we discovered this: “Constant exercise and good clean nutrition is the key in helping your mental wellbeing thrive”. Looking awesome is just an added bonus.

“Our aim is to offer inspiration to people out there in a bit of a pickle. Hell, we’ve been in quite a few pickles. We hope to give fellow sufferers some tips on how you can fight your demons with some simple steps for clean eating and releasing endorphins.MF’s offers paleo, raw and organic recipes and products, fun stuff that is relevant to our rad lifestyle, we also offer humour (good and bad), recipe books and wellness packages to help you reach your personal mental and physical goals. What we offer will constantly be evolving, as just like you… we are still learning and growing on our path to fabulousness”.


What Foods We Eat On a Regular Basis to Nail a Day?

We have good days. We have ok days. We have amazing days and we also have days where we just can’t function. On these days we have a list of things that help us get out of bed. At some point we all feel a little flat and it can be hard to just find the drive to even have a shower. Someone says to you “you look a little tired” and you either want to:

  • Punch them in the face
  • Burst in to tears
  • Put a bag over your head or
  • You just don’t give a **** as you can’t access your feelings on that particular day

Feel Good Foods and Supplements to minimise “moving through sticky smelly mud” days?

  1. GREENS. Eat as many of these as you can. Snort them. Kidding. Although that would be hilarious. Include at every meal as they act as digestive enzymes to help process your food better. Greens also include Vitamins A, C, K, folate and minerals such as iron.
  2. CUCUMBER. This vegetable is extremely calming on your insides. Whack it in a green SMOODIE or just slice it up and eat with a good dippy dip.
  3. PUMPKIN SEEDS. Zinc is essential for immune health and stress management and pumpkin seeds are loaded with it. Symptoms of zinc deficiency can include; loss of appetite, irritability and depression. Throw some in a salad or lightly pan fry with a little tamari (wheat free soy sauce).
  4. Smelly wee ASPARAGUS. This spring vegetable is not only high in antioxidants but also a good source of tryptophan, an important amino acid that the body uses to make serotonin, which helps us sleep and support a healthy mood. “Serotonin deficiency is the most common cause of panic attacks.”
  5. BERRIES and rich coloured fruits. These little gems not only taste amazing but contain plant nutrients that protect you against certain diseases and are loaded with Vitamin C. Vitamin C becomes severely depleted in times of stress and anxiety.
  6. COCONUT WATER. High in potassium and magnesium and is particularly good for re-hydrating and re-energising. Magnesium is our GOD – see below info.
  7. CHIA SEEDS AND WALNUTS. High in omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins and magnesium (all of which support metabolism, reduce stress and improve mood). Walnuts are excellent brain nutrition. Throw them in your SMOODIE!
  8. CHAMOMILE TEA. Chamomile is a natural relaxant. Sip this baby all day.
  9. CARBS. We tend to eat more health PALEO friendly carbs when feeling a little flat and funny enough often crave them. This is one tip we tell a lot of people – increase your carb intake to get your mood back on track. Opt for stuff like Sweet Potato and we love BANANAS for a good mood boost. The connection between carbohydrates and mood is all about tryptophan, a nonessential amino acid. As more tryptophan enters the brain, more serotonin is synthesized in the brain, and mood tends to improve. Serotonin, known as a mood regulator, is made naturally in the brain from tryptophan with some help from the B vitamins. Foods thought to increase serotonin levels in the brain include fish and vitamin D.Here’s the catch, though: While tryptophan is found in almost all protein rich foods, other amino acids are better at passing from the bloodstream into the brain. So you can actually boost your tryptophan levels by eating more carbohydrates; they seem to help eliminate the competition for tryptophan, so more of it can enter the brain. But it’s important to make smart carbohydrate choices like fruits and vegetables, which also contribute important nutrients and fibre to your insides.
  10. Dark Chocolate and RAW CACAO. Cacao contains serotonin and precursors to serotonin, our brain’s natural feel good molecule. Many people feel a rush of well-being when eating chocolate, dark chocolate, and cacao. These also boost production of serotonin and other endorphins and neurotransmitters that result in feelings of deep pleasure, decreased pain, reduced stress, less fatigue, and increased contentment. We eat cacao ALL.THE.TIME.
  11. OILY FISH. In recent years, researchers have noted that omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (found in fatty fish, flaxseed, and walnuts) may help protect against depression.
  12. Get your GUT HEALTH pumping by consuming foods such as full fat organic yoghurt, a good probiotic, Kefir, fermented foods, Kombucha and avoid foods that contribute to leaky gut syndrome (like Grains)! There is a definite gut-brain connection and problems associated with the gut can have serious effects on mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. Digestive problems and its impact on mental health are commonly overlooked by mental health practitioners despite studies showing a strong relationship between gastrointestinal disorders and mental health. For example, many studies have shown strong links between depression and celiac disease, poor diet and depression, food allergy and depression, candida (yeast overgrowth) and depression, plus many more. Get that gut happy chappy.

Natural Supplements We Take That Help Us When We Have a Foggy Brain:

As always – consult your doctor before taking any natural supplements that may interfere with any medications you are currently on:

  1. VITAMIN C. In times of anxiety (stress) the adrenal glands (where stress hormones are stored) tend to be particularly depleted of their normally high levels of vitamin C. Make sure you are getting a good supplement – get one from your local health store.
  2. We recommend both FISH OIL and a GOOD B VITAMIN to anyone experiencing depression and anxiety. Study after study has shown that taking a high quality fish oil supplement containing both the potent omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA can help with symptoms of depression and anxiety and even bipolar disorder. In addition, the entire range of B vitamins, including vitamins B12, B6, and folate, may also be helpful in regulating mood.
  3. MAGNESIUM has so many benefits and most people are deficient. It offers better sleep as the sleep regulating hormone melatonin is disturbed when Magnesium is deficient. Furthermore, Magnesium brings balance and controls stress hormones. Stress and tension are often reasons why people suffer from insomnia in the first place. It also relaxes the nervous system. Magnesium is important in the serotonin story because it is a necessary element in the release and uptake of serotonin by brain cells. With proper amounts of magnesium, nature makes sufficient serotonin and you experience emotional balance. It can help migraine sufferers, PMS sufferers and is a must for anyone who is depressed or anxious.
  4. 5-HTP (available at any good Health Store). It is a compound produced in the body from the amino acid Tryptophan. It is a precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin and the hormone melatonin. 5-HTP supplements have become popular because it is thought that providing the body with 5-HTP in pill form can boost the body’s serotonin levels, similar to the antidepressants that are thought to increase the amount of serotonin available to the brain.
  5. EPSOM SALT BATHS. Basically a magnesium bath that instantly relaxes you. Your skin is so porous and magnesium is just cranking through your body after a bath with Epsom salts. Can buy these in the medicine section in your local supermarket.
  6. MIND DUMP. Keeping a private diary or a written record of your thoughts can be one of the most effective ways of dealing with mood disorders. The mere act of writing down our thoughts and feelings instantly makes us feel less anxious as having too many tasks on our mind makes us feel bloody overwhelmed. Makes us feel like important journalists too.
  7. GET SOME HUGS. Oxytocin is the hormone responsible for us all being here today. You see this little gem is released during childbirth, making our mothers forget about all of the excruciating pain they endured expelling us from their bodies and making them want to still love and spend time with us. When we hug someone, oxytocin is released into our bodies by our pituitary gland, lowering both our heart rates and our cortisol levels. Cortisol is the hormone responsible for stress, high blood pressure, and heart disease. FREE HUGS ALL ROUND. If you can’t find someone to hug you… we will.
  8. EXERCISE. Releases endorphins, makes you feel strong and sexy, boosts your confidence. Enough said.
  9. Find something you enjoy.

Ultimately everything is so individual, we just want to be a voice and perhaps even a virtual shoulder to lean on when it feels like there is no sunlight. Perhaps try include some of the above to help you on your path to overall wellness (nuttiness).

If you are feeling a little flat whip out one of these bad boys to give you a little pep:


Calcium King

SERVINGS One RAD person.


  • 2 tbsp of chocolate or natural protein
    (We use 180protein chocolate flavour)
  • 2 tbsp of natural yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp of coconut milk or a couple of heaped tbsp of natural yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp of tahini
  • A slug of icey water or coconut water
  • 2/3 of a frozen banana
  • 1 heaped tbsp of raw cacao


  • POUR

Health Benefits of the Calcium King

Apart from tasting delicious:

  • It contains tahini…
    (high in Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium and Iron and also helps to maintain healthy skin and muscle tone)
  • It aids in liver detoxification
  • High in B vitamins
  • It contains 20% protein
  • High in healthy fats
  • Apart from the health benefits of Tahini in this smoothie, it also has the banging benefits of raw cacao, protein and banana. Raw Cacao is an instant mood booster. We eat Cacao almost every day. Seriously it is loaded with magnesium and just puts a smile on your dial.

Love always,


P.S. Feel free to email us about anything or everything

P.P.S We love Crossfit

Angela: Find out more about the Mental Foodies on their website here.


180 Nutrition

This article was curated by 180 Nutrition who were founded in March 2010 with the goal to offer the very best in natural health supplements and resources. The passionate team are aligned with leading health and wellness professionals including nutritionists, naturopaths, functional medicine and exercise specialists. They regularly connect with... Read More

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2 Replies to “Eat Right For Mental Health (& Look Awesome Too)”
Craig says:

Great read, thank you 🙂 I was wondering how you go about finding a good B-Vitamin multi, the more I read about them the more I struggle to find any that tick all the boxes of what a good multi should include.

Hi Craig,

Thanks for your comment.

We use pureinnovation which was recommended by a naturopath.

I personally use this brand because it includes b12 and I have a deficiency. I found it to be particularly useful in times of stress.

Hope this helps!



Comments are closed.