Food & Your Mental Health

Have you ever heard of the saying, 'We are what we eat?' Food is one of the necessities of life and when consumed, it provides us with nutrients that are essential for energy, growth and gives us a healthy life by helping us prevent diseases. It also has an important role, which is keeping our mental health in check.

We all know that our mental health includes our emotional, psychological and social well-being.

So, the question now is: How is food related to our mental health?

1. Food helps with symptoms of depression and anxiety Healthy foods rich in carbohydrates, protein, selenium and vitamins help to perk up the brain and this makes us feel energized and vigilant. When people suffering from anxiety take all these, they help to reduce inflammation, hence, improving the mood. Some examples of foods that are good for depression and anxiety are beef, liver, egg yolks, legumes, nuts and seeds.

2. Eating food makes you happy There is a saying that a hungry man is an angry man. This is very true because someone deprived of food will not calm down. They will be easily agitated. The nutrients in food help the body produce serotonin and dopamine and these are essential in elevating the mood and also in promoting sleep. When serotonin is released after eating, it enhances calmness and automatically, your mood is improved. After eating well, you can think clearly and feel more alert.

3. Foods can be used as a coping mechanism
Yes, food can become addictive especially when people experience the joy associated with increased dopamine transmission in the brain after eating certain foods, they become dependent on it. Some of these foods include pizza, ice cream, chocolate, cookies and chips. These foods will continue to give them the fullness and pleasure they want until they become too addicted and unable to do without them. There are several risks associated with being addicted to foods like these;

  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Heart diseases
  • Malnutrition
  • Sleep disorders
  • High cholesterol
  • Anxiety and depression

You are what you eat, so you must eat good food to stay healthy physically and mentally.

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