Diet and Mental Health Relationship
The food you eat and the way you feel share a complex relationship. When you feel blue, you are more likely to grab junk food to comfort yourself. Therefore, mental health affects your cravings. But, it acts in the opposite direction, too.
The food you eat has various vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that reach the brain and cause certain chemical reactions.
The exact chemical reaction in your brain depends on the food and its nutritive value. A particular food, that is sometimes called - brain food, triggers good reactions, and increases the positive response in the brain.
On the other hand, some foods affect your mental health negatively. Refined sugar makes you feel better instantly, but once the short-term reaction in your brain passes, you'll feel the negative effects of it.
The other group of foods that isn't good for your mental health prevents the brain from transforming nutrients into the things that the brain needs. For example, butter isn't very good brain food. Instead of supporting good memory, focus, and feeling-good hormone release, butter is related to decreased cognitive function.
There is more research to be done on how saturated fats and refined sugars decrease brain functions. Until the results are ready, you should limit the intake of these ingredients.
Eating With Other People
Diet and mental health aren’t only connected throughout the particular food intake. The diet includes all eating habits, including sharing meals with other people and eating preferences.
Sharing meals is significant for your mental health because when you eat in a group, you develop connections with other people and focus on something other than food.
Studies have shown how important family meals are for the mental health of adolescents. Those who have frequent dinners with their families reported lower risks of depression, social anxiety, and overall level of dissatisfaction. They are also at a lower risk of substance abuse.
Mealtimes include everything from food preparation, eating, and cleaning afterward. Because you need to eat every day, mealtimes are an important part of your daily routine, and the habits you develop affect your mental health.
Eating Disorders as Part of Complex Food-Mental Health Connection
If you need more reasons to spend time reflecting on your diet and eating habits, let's discuss eating disorders.
The reasons why eating disorders occur aren't still clear. But, more and more evidence suggests that the choice of food isn't the only factor that leads to eating disorders.
An eating disorder can be connected with an unhealthy approach to food or your body image. Each eating disorder requires a specialized approach and treatment. It affects the overall well-being of the person, not only physical health.
Food Can Make You Feel Great or Bad
Food can make you feel good about yourself, in terms of energy levels, overall feeling and mood boost. Some foods are excellent for concentration, such as fatty fish, green leaf, berries, etc. On the other hand, if you have to take the maximum of your brain power, avoid sugary drinks, fast food, alcohol, mercury-rich fish, etc.
Are mental health or physical health and body appearance better motivation for you to build healthier eating habits and choose food wisely? Share your thoughts in the comments!