How we feel affects what we eat and vice-versa — what we eat affects how we feel! Apparently, if we feel stressed, we make poor food choices, which sets up a circle of feelings. However, the way we eat and what we consume influence our mood as well. It’s no secret that when we eat healthy food, we feel healthy.1 But why is this? How does the food we put in our body have such a grand effect on how we function from day to day and on our mental health?
When it comes to our health, the food we put in our body can have a significant impact, especially when it comes to our heart and brain. Weight gain, physical inactivity, stress, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and obesity can greatly increase the risks of heart disease, mental health issues, and various chronic illnesses.
The food we eat gives our bodies the information and fuel it needs to properly function. If it does not get the right information, our metabolic processes can suffer and our health can decline. It is essential to have good nutrition based on healthy eating habits to enable you to stay healthy, active, and live a longer life. In short, the nutrition you put in your body can help you avoid certain diseases that can put your life at risk and cause your health to deteriorate.
Then, let us know more about how, in particular, your food selection can stress you. Here’s how some unhealthy eating habits can alter your mood and emotional well-being:
1. CUTTING OUT ENTIRE FOOD GROUPS
If you reduce the variety of foods in your diet, it can be more difficult to get all the essential nutrients you need. Low levels of zinc, iron, B vitamins, magnesium, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids are associated with worsening mood and decreased energy which can cause mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.2
2. EATING TOO MANY REFINED CARBOHYDRATES
High intakes of unhealthy, processed carbohydrates, such as white bread and pastries, cause blood sugars to rise and fall rapidly. This can lead to low energy and irritability. New research shows that eating too much of these highly processed foods might also raise their risk of depression.3
3. SKIPPING MEALS
Missing a meal, especially breakfast, can lead to low blood sugar. This will likely leave you feeling weak and tired. Skipping a meal — or going too long without eating in general — could have a serious impact on your mental health.A study shows that adolescents who skipped breakfast were more likely to experience stress and depression than those who regularly ate breakfast.4
When you go too long without eating, your blood sugar takes a dip, signaling your body to start producing cortisol. Cortisol, commonly referred to as the "stress hormone," is released to try to help regulate that dip in blood sugar, but it's also creating a stress response in the body.5 This can not only leave you feeling anxious or depressed, but also moody, irritable, and frazzled.
It is vital to know what you should eat and avoid the risk of being easily stressed when in times of hectic schedules, life pressure, and such. It’s better to be ready all the time and pack your body with enough nutrients and vitamins especially during a health crisis!