Can What You Eat Impact Your Mental Health?

food impact on mental health

August 22, 2019   8 Comments

Many of us reach for a cookie when we want a pick me up. We all know that it works!

For a short time, the cookie provides us with good feelings as the sugar hits our system and dopamine is produced. Alas, the high is short lived and we can have a sugar crash - bringing our mood down with it.

This type of sugar rush is well known but nutritional psychologists have been looking at longer term affects of food on mood.

It isn’t an easy thing to look at because when you are down, you tend to crave pasta, cookies and ice cream. Is that food causing you to be depressed? or are you eating it because you are depressed?

There is scientific evidence that the food you eat can lead to good feelings. A study of more than 12,000 Australians found that individuals who increased the number of servings of fruits and vegetables reported that they were happier and more satisfied with their life than those whose diets remained the same.

You see that lady up there? She is one of the happier Australians who are eating their fruits and veggies!

None of this research surprises me because many of us aren’t getting our recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables. Why does that matter? We need the nutrients in raw fruits and vegetables for our body to function at its best.

Do I wish that humans were built to run on fries, shakes, and burgers? Sure! But, that food doesn’t begin to fulfill our bodies’ nutritional requirements.

Look at this photo:

Are you starting to feel good? Your gut bacteria needs this food!! There is a link between a healthy gut biome and the processing of neurotransmitters like serotonin that regulate mood.

I am frequently stunned by how many times I read something like - a diet rich in fruits and vegetables will defend you against cancer and heart disease - how about depression and anxiety? Can we add those to the list? I think we can.

My own diet has evolved over the years to have many more fruits and vegetables - and when I lose access to them (for example when I went on vacation to a theme park) - I start to go a little nuts. Of course, that could have been too many trips on a roller coaster as well. I begin to crave a salad, an orange, and a meal that doesn't look all brown. I'm talking about fries, deep fried fish, chicken fingers.......

Hippocrates wrote, “Let thy food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

He didn’t live along to try try Prozac or hang out with drug company executives - but his conclusion about the importance of nutrition to prevent or cure disease is proving to be completely correct.

Have you found that eating healthier is making you happier? or calmer? Please share.


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8 Comments:

This absolutely makes perfect sense to me. Ever since being on WW, I feel a big difference in my energy levels and my mood. The proof is that when I do overindulge, I feel unwell. Especially on vacation when I eat out very often - I then remember feeling icky all the time. I, too, begin to crave my fruits and veggies and lean proteins. You hit the nail on the head with this one, Snack Girl! Thanks!!

on August 22, 2019

On the last day of vacation I asked a server to bring me sliced tomatoes, broccoli and a baked potato. Nothing on any of them, sauces etc. It tasted like the best meal of a gourmet trip!

on August 22, 2019

I’ve found a low-carb diet makes me feel depressed and I have trouble sleeping. Keto was a disaster for me. Vegetables and fruit help me feel balanced mentally.

on August 22, 2019

I absolutely feel better when I eat more fruits and veggies.Not only is my body getting what it needs nutritionally, but I also feel happier because I know I am taking good care of my body.

on August 22, 2019

I feel so much better since I quit WW and tried Healthy Free U.

on August 22, 2019

Absolutely, yes!!!!! If I don't have my fruits and veggies, THAT alone, makes me sad!!! We camp, and I Pre-plan all of our meals. Salads, veggies, diet bread or Sandwich Skinnys instead of buns (for ME, anyway) Makes for a Happy Camper!!!!

on August 22, 2019

I'm getting serious again about eating right, after a couple years of bad eating, weight gain, exacerbated by menopause. I've eaten lots of frozen fruit w/homemade yogurt, fresh vegies, cooked vegies, roasted almonds, and some type of roasted meat w/a bit of season salt or a tiny splash of BBQ sauce. Very small amounts of bread when I eat with hubby. I feel better the past two weeks than I have in over a year. No weight loss yet, but the bloat is gone, I don't want to fall asleep in the afternoon, and when I ate a candy bar after lunch the other day I felt "icky" and it really sank in.

on August 22, 2019

WELL SNACK GIRL, TO ME THIS NOT ONLY IS, THE "TRUTH, THE WHOLE TRUTH & NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH! LIVES CAN BE SAVED & YEARS ADDED ON. YES, THE "MENTAL ISSUES & FEELINGS THAT "FOOD" CAN MAKE US THINK & FEEL. ALL OF YOU ABOVE MENTION THIS. WISHING FOR A HAPPIER LIFE OF GOOD FEELINGS OR LOOK UP & SAY "GEE I ENJOY MY EATING THESE MEALS & I FEEL SO GOOD, LIFE "IS GOOD"! RESULTS FOLLOW SHOWING ON YOUR BODY, & YOUR WHOLE OUTLOOK. I CAN'T EVEN THINK HOW MANY TIMES I THOUGHT SOME OF THESE TO MYSELF. THANKS TO ALL OF YOU ABOVE & MY FAVORITE SNACK GIRL. BE HEALTHY & SAFE & I MEAN IT, BLESSINGS, anneippi

on August 22, 2019


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