It was one thing knowing that the foods you eat have a direct correlation with your physical health and appearance, but knowing that those same foods also have an effect on your mental health makes you want to sit up straight now, doesn’t it? Fact; your diet could be directly impacting the way you’re feeling, so it’s important to understand exactly which foods to eat and which to avoid, because the foods you eat could be impacting your mind as much as your body.
According to experts, the foods listed below can have an effect on your mental health.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise, but if your mental health is suffering, alcohol could be making it worse. The body’s effort to metabolize the alcohol throughout the night affects our ability to enter a REM (rapid eye movement) state, leading to an overall poorer night’s sleep. Studies show that even a 1-hour reduction in sleep can increase our calorie consumption in a day by about 500 calories and affect irritability and mood disruptions.
Don’t underestimate the power of sleep when it comes to mental health, and the way alcohol disrupts REM sleep patterns, especially when drinking at night, can make it the culprit ultimately making your mental health worse.
Staying away from processed foods with artificial sweeteners could be the key to improving your mood. Although more research needs to be done to examine how artificial sweeteners affect our gut health, but preliminary studies suggest they increase harmful bacteria in the gut, which can lead to low mood and anxiety.
If you’re overindulging in caffeine through coffee, chocolate, soda, or any other forms of caffeinated foods and drinks, your mental health could start to suffer. Excess caffeine in the diet (roughly 400 milligrams or about 4 cups of coffee) can worsen anxiety as it over stimulates areas in the brain that perceives a threat.
In addition, caffeine can shut down areas of the brain that can help regulate anxiety. The last thing you want if you’re struggling with your mental health is for caffeine to make it difficult to manage your anxiety symptoms.
There’s hardly any upside to eating too much fried foods. From the impacts on cardiovascular health to weight gain, fried foods are truly one of the worst to be put into your body, not to mention the impact on mental health.
According to a 2016 study, the frequency of fast food consumption was correlated to lower resilience to depression. This means that by consuming fried foods often, you’re putting yourself at a higher risk of developing depression. So, not only could the consumption of fried foods be wrecking your body, but it’s also likely playing a role in your mental health challenges too.