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The Effects of Food on your Mood and Mental Wellbeing

by Team vybey |

With food being a major and essential part of everyday life, it should come as no surprise that what you eat can have a massive impact on how you are feeling. Ringing true the famous saying ‘You Are What You Eat’.

Reading this, you are probably already naturally thinking about your next meal! So, why not consider what foods you are consuming to maximise your mood and mental wellbeing. Unsurprisingly, poor nutrition and eating has a correlation to poorer mood experiences. Therefore, better quality and improved nutrition can help improve mental state and mood, giving food the power to make you feel better about yourself1.

Food can be a complex area when trying to understand the benefits different ingredients and macros can provide. Explained below are some areas that you can consider when choosing that next meal you are thinking about.

Glycaemic index

The Glycaemic Index sounds confusing and complex right? But let us explain…

The Glycaemic Index is essentially a ranking system for foods containing carbohydrates in relation to how quick they can be digested and processed by the body, to influence glucose and insulin levels. If your diet is ranked highly on the Glycaemic Index, then the foods you are consuming will contain a large percentage of refined carbohydrates and sugars.

However, studies have found that foods with a higher ranking on this system tend to have a more negative effect on one’s mood, in comparison to the foods ranked lower on the system1.

Foods ranked low on this system include vegetables, fruit, oats, and wholegrain products such as wholegrain bread. While, unfortunately, the treats that the majority of the population tend to like such as doughnuts, scones, sweets, and French fries all rank higher on the system.

Here at vybey, we make this easy for you, as our complete meal replacement shake contains low Glycaemic Index ingredients such as oats and brown rice flour. In addition, the complete meal powder has no added sugar, thus, meaning the product is kept low on the Glycaemic Index.


Nootropics is an overarching term for substances that help enhance the brain and its mental functions. Nootropics can therefore aid areas such as mental wellbeing and mood in relation to motivation, concentration, and attention2.

Nootropics have this positive effect on the brain through a few different ways:

  1. Help increase blood flow around the brain.
  2. Provide energy for the brain.
  3. Improve the transmission of nerve impulses.

As Nootropics is an overarching term, you are probably asking ‘where do I find and locate nootropics within my food?’

There are many different types of nootropics, but to keep it simple: vitamins, Omega-3, amino acids and protein, caffeine, and iron are all examples of nootropics which help work towards the above benefits2.

At vybey, we have recognised this and included 26 different vitamins and minerals within our complete meal powder, as well as the Lion’s Mane nootropic. The Lion’s Mane nootropic, to our knowledge, is a unique ingredient included within our meal replacement shakes. This nootropic has many benefits to areas such as the brain, heart, and gut3. Furthermore, compared to 14 different mushroom species, the Lion’s Mane extract ranks within the top 4 for greatest antioxidant levels4. During clinical studies, it has been suggested that the Lion’s Mane mushroom nootropic may increase brain function by stimulating the nerve growth factors in our brains5.

Alongside the Lion’s Mane nootropic, vybey meal replacement shakes also contain both Omega-3 & 6. Not to mention the high protein count at 29g per 100g serve that is also present within our products.

Vitamins & Minerals

Branching off from nootropics, vitamins and minerals require a more specific look.

As you probably know, there are many different vitamins and minerals that are present within the foods we eat, such as Vitamin A, B, C, D, and E and minerals like calcium, copper, zinc, and magnesium. But how do they affect your mood?

Vitamins within food have been studied in-depth for many years. Vitamins such as Vitamin B have been found to maintain and improve brain function. Other vitamins such as Vitamin E have positive antioxidant effects. This means they are effective in improving mood as depression is often linked to defective antioxidant defences6.

Vitamin D is another important vitamin required for optimal health. This is because Vitamin D has the ability to help reduce the risk of multiple harmful diseases and illnesses, such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, and type 1 diabetes7.

Fatty acid such as Omega-3 & 6 have also been found to have affects on mood and mental wellbeing. This is highlighted by Omega-3 & 6 being discovered to help reduce stress and anxiety levels8.

Minerals such as zinc, magnesium and calcium are also important in improving one’s mood. This is because these minerals play a massive role in the central nervous system9. This means that these minerals are involved in the Dopaminergic System. This system is the main source of dopamine to the brain, and without dopamine areas such as mood can be reduced, and stress can be increased10.

Endorphins & Serotonin

Endorphins are natural drugs produced and released by the body that can reduce pain and stress and improve one’s mood11. These endorphins are often released more when we exercise and eat specific foods, highlighting the need for good nutrition and regular exercise.

Chocolate is an example of a food which increases the endorphin levels within the body. This is a reason why we often crave chocolate when our mood is low as it can improve our mood levels, short term12. However, this may lead to a ‘crash’ so it is not recommended apart from a couple of squares of dark chocolate which is a known antioxidant.

Serotonin is another substance produced by the body, which is natural and can help improve one’s mood13.

Food can play a role in increasing one’s serotonin levels as the amino acid used in serotonin synthesis, tryptophan, can come from foods. Foods with high levels of tryptophan include milk, turkey, chicken, cheese, and oats.

vybey – Can we help?

The above information may be hard to take in all at once when deciding on your next meal, so we have made this easier for you.

The complete meal powders we offer cover all the areas discussed above, ensuring you get the most out of your next meal. Our complete meal replacement shakes contain 26 different vitamins and minerals, while also considering the glycaemic index and the effects of nootropics on one’s mood and mental wellbeing.

So why not start your vybey journey today?

If you have any queries or burning questions for us, please get in touch via our social media platforms or email the team ! We’d love to help out.


1. Firth, J. et al., 2020. Food and mood: how do diet and nutrition affect mental wellbeing?. BMJ, Issue 369.

2. Joshi Pranav, C., 2013. A Review on Natural Memory Enchancers (Nootropics). Unique Journal of Engineering and Advanced Sciences, 1(01), pp. 8-18.

3. Julson, E., (2018). 9 Health Benefits of Lion’s Mane Mushroom (Plus Side Effects) [online]. Healthline. Available from

4. Your Super. (2021). Lion’s Mane: A Mighty Mushroom for The Mind [online]. Your Super. Available from

5. Mori K., Inatomi S., Ouchi K., Azumi Y. and Tuchida T., (2009). Improving effects of the mushroom Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus) on mild cognitive impairment: a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Phytother Res, 23(3), p. 367-372. 

6. Kaplan, B. J., Crawford, S. G., Field, C. J. and Simpson, J. S. A., 2007. Vitamins, Minerals, and Mood. Psychological Bulletin, 133(5), p. 747–760.

7. Grant, W.B. and Holick, M.F., 2005. Benefits and requirements of vitamin D for optimal health: a review. Altern Med Rev10(2), pp.94-111.

8. Larrieu, T. and Laye, S., 2018. Food for Mood: Relevance of Nutritional Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Depression and Anxiety. Frontiers in Physiology, 9(1047).

9. Kennedy, D. et al., 2010. Effects of high-dose B vitamin complex with vitamin C and minerals on subjective mood and performance in healthy males. Psychopharmacology, Issue 211, pp. 55-68.

10. Chinta, S. and Andersen, J., 2005. Dopaminergic neurons. The international journal of biochemistry & cell biology, 37(5), pp. 942-946.

11. Wilson, R.W. and Elmassian, B.J., 1981. Endorphins. The American journal of nursing81(4), pp.722-725.

12. Benton, D. and Donohoe, R.T., 1999. The effects of nutrients on mood. Public health nutrition2(3a), pp.403-409.

13. Young, S.N. and Leyton, M., 2002. The role of serotonin in human mood and social interaction: insight from altered tryptophan levels. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior71(4), pp.857-865.

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