Date of the last update: 26.04.2022
Food has long since ceased to be just a means of supplying the body with enough energy to cover energy expenditure. Today, food satisfies our biological needs along with psychological and social ones. Eating help us to establish and maintain relationships, alleviate stress and relieve tension. There are, of course, both good and bad things about that. We’ve probably all heard of “comfort food”. It lifts our mood in the short run but can lead to obesity in the long-term perspective because of unhealthy eating habits. How does food affect our psyche? Is it possible to improve your mood with diet alone?
Table of Contents:
- Healthy eating habits and their impact on wellbeing
- Diet and depression
- Food and mood-lifting mood with food
You can read this article in 2 minutes.
Healthy eating habits and their impact on wellbeing
Healthy eating habits are no longer associated with a healthy and slim body (these two concepts are often linked, sometimes mistakenly). Food has a significant impact on both our body and mind –in terms of brain efficiency, ability to remember information and proper functioning of the nervous system. A perfect example to confirm it is how appropriate body hydration impacts our mood. Irritability, mood swings, fatigue – all these symptoms may be the body’s response to insufficient hydration. Research indicates that this is a signal from neurons, detecting the lack of homeostasis. This is just one of many examples highlighting the importance of proper nutrition to a person’s mental condition.
Diet and depression
Just as poor hydration affects the state of our body, deficiencies of certain substances can contribute to our bad mood. However, the research doesn’t stop there – constant deficiencies affect bad moods and mental illnesses.
Currently, insufficient amounts of vitamins such as:
- folic acid
- vitamin B1
- vitamin B2
- vitamin B6
- vitamin B12
are most often indicated as reasons for an increased risk of mental illnesses, including depression. Research conducted at the Medical University of Lublin reveals that deficiencies in these vitamins have a significant impact on the occurrence of oxidative stress, which may cause neurotoxicity and, as a result, contribute to the development of various types of disorders, including depressive disorders. In addition, low levels of these vitamins affect the levels of serotonin and dopamine, which are responsible for the sleep cycle, mood and cognitive functions.
Depressive states and mood disorders are also observed in people who have an imbalance in the omega-3 / omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids ratio in their diet. The research indicates that depression occurs more often in countries where less fish and whole grain products are consumed, and saturated fats and highly processed foods predominate.
Food and mood-lifting mood with food
Food often becomes a way to improve our mood. But it can later backfire on us and contribute to several problems, such as the inability to cope with stress, obesity, diabetes and mental illnesses mentioned above. The most common foods that help improve mood are, of course, carbohydrates. They are responsible for a temporary increase in serotonin levels. Unfortunately, after a short period of time, the body demands another dose of sugar – this leads to carbohydrate addiction and, consequently, an increased risk of the diseases. When you notice that you seek consolation in food and treat it as a way to calm down, it is worth consulting a dietician.
Food has a significant influence on our psyche – our mood and mental health. When composing a diet, remember that you affect both your body and mind.