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Improving Mood Through Diet

This month in the Nutrition Journal, researchers published a randomized controlled trial entitled “Restriction of Meat, Fish, and Poultry in Omnivores Improves Mood.” An earlier cross-sectional study (which I detailed in my 3-minute video Plant-based Diet & Mood) found that vegetarians reported better mood than omnivores, but without doing an interventional study, you never know which came firstómaybe they were eating healthier because they felt better, rather than the other way around. And so researchers randomized omnivores into three groups: a control group (eating their regular diets), a fish group (eating fish but no other meat), and a vegetarian diet without eggs. I detail the results in my video pick shown above.

The reason the researchers had the vegetarian group avoid eggs is because they think it may be the arachidonic acid in animal products that’s to blame for the brain inflammation implicated in the mood disturbances found in omnivores. Arachidonic acid is a long-chain omega-6 fatty acid that produces inflammatory compounds in the body, and the top sources in the American diet are chicken and eggs (see my 1-minute video Chicken, eggs, and inflammation). In fact, the egg industry is trying to make eggs less pro-inflammatory by feeding hens blubber from the Canadian harp seal hunt. You have to see it to believe it: watch my 2-minute video Chickenís fate is sealed.

Quoting from the new study: “[Arachidonic acid] raises the risk for inflammation-based chronic diseases including depression since these metabolites are associated with altering mood-regulating mechanisms.” The other diseases alluded to include cancer, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and other autoimmune disorders. For more, see my 2-minute video Inflammatory remarks about arachidonic acid.

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

Image credit: gautsch. / Flickr

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Dr. Michael Greger

A founding member of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, Michael Greger, M.D., is a physician, author, and internationally recognized speaker on nutrition, food safety, and public health issues. Currently Dr. Greger serves as the Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at The Humane Society of the United States. Hundreds of his nutrition videos are freely available at


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7:18AM PDT on Aug 10, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

5:17AM PDT on May 12, 2013


5:48PM PDT on Apr 4, 2013

Thank you.

5:47PM PDT on Apr 4, 2013

Thank you.

10:41PM PST on Feb 15, 2013

thank you

6:10AM PST on Feb 15, 2013

Thanks. I agree with Brenda, I am vegetarian as well and I feel healthier and happier.

12:30PM PDT on May 30, 2012

what a bunch of crap...hahahhahaha...does anyone believe in this b.s?

3:34PM PDT on Mar 17, 2012


12:18PM PST on Mar 7, 2012


12:15PM PST on Mar 7, 2012

:/ that really wasn't worth the read

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