If the old adage is true and you are what you eat… what would you be? Parents try to keep their kids from eating too much sugar, lest they bounce off the balls and break a window. While studies haven’t found a link between those two things, we do know that your diet can positively (or negatively) impact your mental health. When you eat better you feel better and that’s no myth.
As we look at the potential impact diet has, consider the flip side of each. If there is a negative reaction, it’s possible to turn it around and create a positive one.
1. Diet & Depression
Indulging in an unhealthy diet in the long-term it leaves you at risk of depression. Studies have found that eating a diet high in processed food and sugar over a long period of time can lead to depression and anxiety. One of the biggest indicators of depression in someone is whether there has been a change in appetite. This alone suggests that there is a link between the two. A diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables is a mood-boosting boon to your mental health.
2. Food Addiction
Studies also suggest that there could be a link between addictive eating and sugar consumption. When you crave a food, it’s not usually a healthy craving, is it? It’s something that’s high in sugar or fat, isn’t it? It’s because that’s the type of foods that we become addicted to.
3. Sugar & Stress
What do you turn to for stress relief? Your body burns sugar to fuel its energy. It’s probably why you turn to sugary treats when you feel stressed out. The problem with that is that it only fuels your stress more. If you really want to manage your stress levels, you can start by getting a good night’s sleep and eating a healthy diet.
4. Mindful Eating
Emotional eating is when we turn to fatty and sugary foods to alleviate a bad mood. The problem is that when you eat mindlessly you overdo it. Then, it becomes a habit. Whenever you feel down you turn to your cupboards for relief. You are now in a vicious cycle that is impacting your mental health. A weight gain is inevitable, that just prompts you to eat more to make yourself feel better for the changes you are seeing in your body. What you can do to repair that is try mindful eating. It simply means eating slowly and doing so without distraction – so, turn the television off and place your full focus on the meal. You will find yourself feeling fuller and more satiated, thus reducing the likelihood of picking up snacks in the first place.
5. Diet & Mental Health
Study after study has found that eating a diet of high-quality food, packed with fruit and vegetables is linked to improved mental health. The problem is that the link is a two-way stress. When you are struggling with a mental health problem it will likely make it more difficult to seek a healthy diet. Likewise, eating a poor diet will only contribute to mental health issues.