Health Watch - Moods: Comfort Food

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

This week on Health Watch, we’ve been talking about mood disorders such as depression and some problems associated with them. Even those who don’t have a serious problem such as depression may face stress or the occasional bad mood, and what you eat can help make things better.

We generally think about foods such as chocolate or mashed potatoes with butter when we think about comfort foods, but when we’re stressed we should probably have a bowl of oatmeal instead. Bernadette Latson, a registered dietitian at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says oatmeal raises levels of serotonin, a calming brain chemical. You could also have a glass of milk before bedtime. That reduces tension and anxiety and helps you sleep better. Eat an orange or have a glass of orange juice because vitamin C helps boost your immune system and lowers stress hormone levels. Omega-3 fatty acids are also good for lowering stress hormone levels.

Visit to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in nutrition.


September 2009

Health Watch is heard Monday through Friday nationwide on ABC Satellite Radio. Call your local radio station and ask if they carry the program.