A psychiatric researcher and a celebrity chef are joining forces to challenge Australians to improve their diet and physical activity this September, as part of the Black Dog Institute’s Exercise Your Mood campaign.

Dave chats with Professor Felice Jacka, head of the Food and Mood Centre at Deakin University’s School of Medicine and Black Dog Institute External Fellow,  who is a leading expert on the link between diet and mental illness.

Professor Jacka’s recent world first study demonstrated that improving the quality of one’s diet is a viable treatment for major depression. Her current research into nutritional psychiatry focuses on the gut microbiome and its link with mood and behaviour.

“According to the data and extensive research we’ve done, we can be safe in saying that nutrition and diet are important to brain health as well as to physical health,” said Professor Jacka.

“Eating well and exercise support each other. The more physically active you are, the more inclined you’ll be to eat better – you wouldn’t want to waste your good work at the gym!”

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With the weather warming up, September is the perfect time to re-examine your dietary choices to ensure they help support your fitness goals, Professor Jacka said.

“Ensure you have a diversity of fibre-rich foods in your diet. Avoid junk food and processed and sweetened foods – these all have an impact on the gut and by extension on your mood,” she said.

“You can make great strides over a longer period of time by taking small steps towards your goals. For instance, change from processed breads to wholegrain or sourdough bread; increase the amount of your plate covered in plant food; or aim to eat different coloured veggies with each meal.”


“No matter what stage you are at, we can all make improvements on some level. Cutting back on sugar is a great starting point!”


For more visit https://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/