Boost your mood through healthy eating

Eat a healthy meal with someone else to improve your wellbeing, recommends nutritionist Jo Lewin

 by Jo Lewin, Public Health Nutritionist

Many of us are aware a healthy diet is vital in order to reduce the risk of physical health problems such as obesity and cardiovascular disease. We are also learning good nutrition can have a big effect on mental health.

Some evidence shows a number of conditions, including depression, may be influenced by positive changes you make to your diet and lifestyle. A recent study revealed 1 in 6 people experience a common mental health problem such as anxiety or depression.

The survey by The Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey in 2014 found mental health problems were more common in people with poor physical health. It’s clear the need for new approaches to understand and support mental health conditions has never been greater.  Locally we have some great initiatives around healthy eating if you, or someone you know, is struggling a little with their mental health.

-          Community cafes and lunch clubs bring people together around a nutritious and usually low cost meal. Everyone is welcome and there are venues open every day of the week. For more information visit our page about lunch clubs in the city.

-          If you would like to know more about nutrition, especially if you are worried about your weight, our Healthy Weight Referral Service can help. Give us a call on 01273 431703 to find out more about our free 1:1 dietitian appointments or group programmes which include exercise too.

-          If you are in need of some new inspiration with what to cook, check out our recipes on our website 

-          Or perhaps you would like to learn how to cook, or gain confidence in the kitchen? We run low cost group cookery classes

-          Combine the benefits of exercise with being outside by getting involved in a community growing project.  Our volunteer coordinator Jo can tell you about the wonderful community gardens across the city where you can drop in, or attend on a more regular basis and often get a cup of tea or a spot of lunch too. Give her a call on 01273 431716

-          Good nutrition starts in the early years. The Healthy Start Voucher scheme entitles new mums to access vouchers for vitamins and milk. This will ensure that all children get off to the best start in life. 

-          Many of us are low in Vitamin D without knowing it – and symptoms can affect mood and make a difference to how you feel. Make an appointment with your GP if you are concerned and they can organise a blood test to check for deficiency.

-          Mental health can affect all ages. The elderly are at increased risk of malnutrition as they get older.  We have produced an information booklet for older people, friends, families and carers with some information about malnutrition and how to prevent it. If you are interested in receiving the booklet, please email

For more information see:

Mental Health Foundation