MediMood: A randomised controlled trial investigating the acute impact of a plant based Mediterranean-style dietary pattern (MDP) on mood, anxiety and cognition in UK adults with mild to moderate mental health complaints

Depression, anxiety and age-related cognitive decline are leading global public health problems. A Mediterranean-style diet promotes both physical and mental wellbeing and brain function in a long-term. As several underpinning biological mechanisms are likely to be responsive within hours or days, examining the short-term effect of a MDP on mental health outcomes is important.

MediMood aims to test whether a MDP can enhance mood, anxiety and cognition (brain function) following a meal (postprandial) and over 5-days in adults over 18 years with mild to moderate mental health problems (low mood and anxiety). We will conduct several computer-based tests measuring mood, anxiety and cognitive performance over the five days, brain imaging (MRI), and collection and analyses of blood, urine and faecal samples will also be carried out.

We believe the findings will have wide public health application because low mood, anxiety and stress disorders affect daily functioning and reduce the quality of life significantly for many.

If you would like to participate or know more, please email .

* Esgunoglu, L., Jennings, A., Connole, E., Murphy, K., & Minihane, A. (2022). Short-term effects of a Mediterranean-style dietary pattern on cognition and mental well-being: A systematic review of clinical trials. British Journal of Nutrition, 128(7), 1247-1256. doi:10.1017/S0007114521002567


Lead Researcher

Ms Latife Esgunoglu

Norwich Medical School Associate Tutor

Latife is the lead PhD student on the MediMood project. Her PhD studies focus on the impacts of a Mediterranean-style dietary pattern (MDP) on mental wellbeing and cognition, supervised by Professor Anne Marie Minihane and Dr Amy Jennings, in Norwich Medical School, UEA.

As a part of her PhD, she previously completed and published a systematic review* looking at the short-term effects of an MDP on mental health and cognition, which formed the basis of the MediMood project design. The MediMood will explore the direct causal relationships between a MDP and mental health in comparison to a Western style diet, and will shed a light on the short-term changes induced by diets on several underpinning mechanisms such as brain blood flow, gut microbiota and sleep quality as well as cardiovascular (i.e. plasma glucose, insulin, lipids and blood pressure) and inflammatory markers and various hormones (i.e. dopamine, serotonin and adrenaline).

The study is funded by the NuBrain Consortium, Medical Research Council, UK and obtained the ethics approval from the NHS.

Latife’s postgraduate studies are funded by the Republic of Turkiye, which was a nationally competitive fund and Latife achieved with the first rank.

Academic Background

MSc Nutrition and Food Science, University of Reading, UK, 2017

BSc Nutrition and Dietetics, Afyon Kocatepe University, Turkey, 2014

Research Group or Lab Membership

Department of Nutrition and Preventive Medicine

Professional Activities

Member of the UK Nutrition Society

Asssociate Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy


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