You've already heard that "you are what you eat," but did you ever think about how food affects your moods? It does, and there's even an entire new area of research called "nutritional psychiatry" that studies this "gut-brain" relationship.

So, what have we learned?

Well, we've learned that most of our serotonin (happy hormone) is actually in our gut, not our brain. Maybe that's why what we eat is now considered a "modifiable risk factor" for depression and anxiety.

That means a healthy diet is linked with a lower risk of mental health issues, and and vice-versa.

So, what should we eat to improve our mood and overall mental health?

A Healthy Diet Is Good for Your Gut & Brain

Well, that doesn't sound very sexy. Anyway, let's define what a "healthy" diet consists of. Basically, a healthy diet should include nutritious and fiber-dense foods for both gut and mental health.

Components of a healthy diet include: Fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, fish, poultry, lean red meat, eggs, and olive oil (not vegetable oil!)

A number of negative reviews online for commercial diets like Nutrisystem seem to have inspired them to focus more on gut health, resulting in increased fiber content in food and optional probiotics with their plans.

Fast Food Is Bad for Mental Health

Foods associated with poor mental health include: processed, sugary, salty, fried, high-fat foods, and sugary drinks. Wow, that pretty much describes the everything on the menu at Mickey-D's! And you thought that the worst thing fast food does is make you obese? No, fast food encourages anxiety and depression, too.

Ever drive through a bad neighborhood and notice how many fast food restaurants there are? The poor diet of people in these areas is directly responsible for both obesity and mental illness, making it even harder to climb out of poverty.

To Improve Your Mood, Skip the "Happy" Meals!

Get it? Oh, how I love irony!

Yes, even though ads for burgers, fries, and cola promise happiness, it's just the opposite. Fast food is bad for your mental health, (and clowns are scary!) so skip fast food altogether for better mental and physical health!