What you eat can affect your mood. Research shows that eating healthy foods, such as vegetables and fruits, does not only benefit your physical well-being. Eating healthily also has profound benefits on your mental well-being.
This opposes the belief that foods rich in calories taste better and help uplift your mood and make you happy. An unhealthy diet, especially high in trans fat and sugar, actually contributes to an increased risk of depression. Unhealthy foods deprive your brain of essential nutrients and facilitate the growth of bad bacteria in your gut.
Depression And Eating Disorders
Depression has many causes. It can be genetic. Specific events in your life can also trigger it. An unhealthy lifestyle can also cause it. However, research suggests that since depression is essentially a brain disease, ensuring that the brain receives sufficient nutrients can prevent it.
Eating disorders usually begin with the intent to be better. However, these good intentions can turn for the worse. Sooner or later, you become obsessed with certain food. Or, because you do not want to gain weight, you starve yourself too much and end up with anorexia. Worse, you can get caught up in the cycle of binge eating and display symptoms of bulimia.
Studies show that these eating disorders are related to depression. While it is true that depression can result in an eating disorder, an eating disorder such as anorexia and bulimia can also result in depression. The inadequate nutrition that the body and the brain receives can have adverse effects on both the mind and the body.
People suffering from eating disorders need the care and treatment provided by experts and professionals. Anorexia and bulimia treatment plans can help a person recover from the disease while addressing his mental and physical health.
Healthy Eating Can Make You Happy
When feeling sad and forlorn, what food improves your mood? Normally, people reach for a tub of ice cream, a bar of chocolate, a bag of chips, or a slice of pizza. You would be hard-pressed to think of anyone who will reach for some greens and fruits. Well, the fact is, you should.
In a study performed in Germany, it was found that eating vegetables contributed to eating happiness as compared with other food categories. Sweets only came in at second place. Compared to snacking, dinner also makes people happier and more content.
In another study that explored the food diaries of 12,385 Australians, it was found that increased consumption of fruits and vegetables also increased their well-being, happiness, and satisfaction. Increasing their consumption by 8 portions daily resulted in an increase of life-satisfaction points by 0.24 points.
These findings support that good nutrition can boost your mood and happiness and reduce your risks of depression. According to a study, too much consumption of sweetened drinks (four sodas daily) is related to higher risks of depression.
Choose A Healthy Way Of Eating Instead Of Fad Diets
Instead of adopting fad diets, opt for a healthy way of eating. The Mediterranean diet, a way of eating that has been passed down for centuries, focuses on consuming plant-based foods. The diet favors vegetables, fruits, legumes, fish, nuts, olive oil, and less meat. Studies show that the Mediterranean diet can lower your risk of heart diseases and other illnesses as well. It has been known to lead to better well-being. People who follow it have also been shown to have a higher health-related quality of life.
Of course, eating healthily is just one way to boost your happiness. Coupled with regular exercise and sufficient sleep, you can take conscious steps to improve your mental well-being and happiness.