Ever feel so low you lose interest in eating? Or maybe you’ve dealt with the blahs by eating unhealthy foods. Both behaviors are common ways people respond to feeling down.

But your diet also directly affects your mood and can raise your risk of depression, says nutritionist and author Cynthia Sass, RD. In her personal picks for the biggest diet and weight loss stories of last year, Sass cites recent findings published in the British Journal of Health Psychology that showed young adults who “ate more fruits and veggies felt calmer, happier and more energetic.”

What’s more, in the British Journal of Psychiatry, findings showed that middle-aged women who ate mostly whole foods were more protected from depression than those who ate mostly processed foods.

Every food choice, Sass says, can influence how we feel, physically and emotionally.