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Hi <<First Name>>,
In this edition of our dietitian’s e-newsletter we bring you practical health tips so you can live your best life:
  • How is food related to your mood?
  • Get on the priority list for our cookshops
  • Bread of life: how to choose the best types
  • Mushrooms are exotic and good for you
  • Free recipe – Beans in tomato sauce with Arabic seven spices
  • Product review - Cheeki
Food and Mood

We know food is important for nourishing our body and supporting physical health. However, more and more evidence is emerging about how it can also affect our mental health. Dietitian Aimee Van Der Veer explores the concept of healthy diet, healthy mind.
Stress is common
Over 5 million Australians suffer from chronic stress yet less than 1 in 2 seek help for it. Chronic stress is a risk factor for developing a mental health disorder such as anxiety and depression as well as other physical health conditions including digestive issues, fertility issues, high blood pressure, and sleeplessness.
How can a poor diet worsen your mood?
Researchers have discovered that a poor (less than healthy) diet could worsen mood and increase your risk of anxiety and depression through a number of ways, including:
  • Affecting the production of important brain chemicals called neurotransmitters
  • Worsening gut health and causing imbalances in those good and bad gut microbes
  • Shrinking an important part of the brain central to mood called the hippocampus
  • Causing inflammation in your body and brain.
How does a good diet improve mood?
Many studies now suggest that a healthy diet can have positive impacts on energy levels, stress levels and even our sleep. It can also improve mood, increase our concentration and reduce the risk of many health conditions. For example, one randomised controlled trial (this type of study is considered the ‘gold standard’ of research methods) known as the ‘SMILES’ trial has shown a reduction in depressive symptoms (by at least 30%) when following a healthy diet aligned with the traditional plant-based Mediterranean diet. Many participants in this study were also utilising some form of therapy, meaning the results showcase dietary benefits on depressive symptoms, on top of therapy!
5 things to address for a mood boosting diet:
  1. Quality of carbohydrates
Our brain runs exclusively on glucose as a fuel source, which we get from carbohydrate rich foods. When our brain does not get enough glucose, we may experience symptoms such as feeling tired, grumpy, brain fog or headaches. For good overall health, it’s important to choose quality carbohydrates such as wholegrains and low glycaemic index (GI) carbohydrates to assist with your blood glucose control i.e.. sweet potato, corn, most fruits, traditional rolled oats, wholegrain bread, all legumes).
  1. Timing of meals
Going for long periods of time without eating anything can cause a drop in your blood glucose levels and in turn, your energy levels. This can then leave you feeling tired and irritable. We suggest you aim to eat moderate sized meals, with a quality source of carbohydrate, on a consistent schedule. For example, three meals daily, every 5 hours (more often if you need to snack). Avoid skipping meals, unless you are fasting, or your body only requires two highly nutritious meals per day.
  1. Protein
Protein plays a role in the production of serotonin in your brain. Serotonin is known as the ‘happy’ hormone as it helps with relaxation, mood stabilisation and sleep. Top quality protein sources (where chronic disease is concerned) include legumes, tofu, nuts, seeds and fish. As compared to meat, these are also anti-inflammatory.
  1. Omega-3s
Omega-3 polyunsaturated fats have been shown to be protective against depression. It is believed that the reason they are so helpful is because they have strong anti-inflammatory effects. Good sources of omega-3’s include linseeds (flaxseeds), chia seeds, walnuts, fatty fish and other seafood. On the other hand, diets that are meat-rich and regularly include highly processed foods can promote inflammation, and they have been linked with an increased risk of depression.
  1. Caffeine, alcohol and water
Dehydration, even if mild (so you can’t feel it), can affect your mood and may cause you to feel irritable, restless or even develop a headache. Are you drinking enough water?
Caffeine is a stimulant and can increase your blood pressure, as well as promote anxiety and depressive symptoms. Caffeine can also indirectly impact your mental state by reducing the quality and quantity of sleep. How many caffeinated beverages do you have per day?
Alcohol has a depressant effect on the brain and should therefore be avoided, particularly by people already suffering from depression. It is best not to drink any alcohol if your mood has gone south. In general, alcohol drinking guidelines continue to recommend a reduced amount compared to what was considered safe previously, due to cancer concerns at even low levels of intake.


“Eating well gives a spectacular joy to life and contributes immensely to goodwill...”
-Elsa Schiaparelli

What’s Cooking – How to Get on our Priority List for Future Cookshops
Our last Cookshop for the year is done and dusted. We’re sorry if you missed out on grabbing a seat. It was so much fun and everyone loved the practical learning!
If you would like to be among the first to hear news about future cookshops in 2023, please email our reception TODAY at Just ask us to put you on our Priority List. Or, simply call our clinic when we are open (Wednesdays or Thursdays) on (02) 9899 5208.
This way, you will be among the first to hear about new events.
Our cookshops are held at our demo kitchen at the Nutrition & Wellbeing Clinic, Suite 10, 80 Cecil Ave, Castle Hill (Sydney, Australia).
We also run special events at this venue for corporate or government small groups that send their teams for a private cookshop, which also allows for staff bonding time. If that is of interest to you or your human resources manager, please get in contact with our clinic manager:  It could be something perfect for 2023!

Food Matters – Bread of Life

So how do you choose quality bread to get those good carbs? Read what Dr Sue Radd says:

Food In Focus with Dr Sue Radd – Mushrooms: Exotic & Good for You

Do you know much about why mushrooms are so good for you? Watch this short segment and join the secret society of mushrooms. Mushrooms are fabulous for many reasons and the large (Portobello) mushrooms make for a “perfect steak” on the barbie! Just cross-cut them and marinate first.
Recipe – Beans in Tomato Sauce with Arabic Seven Spices 

Need a cheat meal – something to give you a break from more heavy duty cooking? This super fast idea is tasty and exotic tasting, yet you get to use canned beans for convenience. Just remember to buy a packet of Arabic Seven Spices from a good greengrocer or deli. It makes all the difference!

Product Review – Cheeki Insulated Bottles

We love many types of non-plastic water bottles as they help people drink more water. Also, they eliminate single-use plastic drink bottles.

But many water bottles tend to heat up when in direct sunlight. Not ideal if you’re at the beach and it’s super hot! Enter Cheeki.

What is it?

Cheeki is Australia’s original stainless steel water bottle brand (made in China), that uses food grade stainless steel. The brand has been sold for more than 10 years.

We, (Dr Sue Radd actually), found that despite being in direct sunlight and used on Greek beaches, the Cheeki insulated bottle kept the water nice and cold. Almost unbelievable, if you consider how hot it can get in Greece during the summer!

And yes, Dr Radd did take her 1 litre Cheeki bottle to Greece. If it works, why not? She has several.

Why is it helpful?

Keeping the water at a cooler temperature aids consumption. This has been known for years, which is why athletes are never served lukewarm or tap water, but slightly chilled water to help them drink more.

Where can you buy it?

Online at or in many retail shops across Australia. There are various sizes and colours to choose from (e.g., 400 ml, 600 ml, 1 litre).

While the Cheeki range may seem pricey – we still think it’s worth it. For example, the 600 ml bottle sells for around $39.95.

We’ve tested many other bottles and nothing has come close to the degree of insultation provided, which can help all of us to drink more.
It could make for a great gift – even to yourself !
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