From the air we breathe to the products we use, what we consume significantly impacts our health. While we know that unhealthy habits have a negative impact on our physical body, research has proven that our eating habits are also intrinsically linked to our mental health.
How Food is Linked to Mental Health Disorders
It doesn’t take complicated science to explain the link between our diets and our brains. When your body is physically unhealthy, your mind notices. Poor eating can physically cause symptoms like weight gain, acne, sleep deprivation and fatigue. But when the physical symptoms set in, so to do mental health issues.
A poor diet can lead to mental health issues including:
- Depression – Research shows that an unhealthy lifestyle and excessive weight gain can lead to depression. Symptoms of depression include feelings of loneliness, emptiness and inadequacy.
- Anxiety – It is more common for individuals with poor physical health to be prone to anxiety attacks, which are often interlinked with other mental health disorders.
- Self esteem – If we don’t take care of our bodies, we don’t feel good about our bodies. Poor eating habits can lead to self esteem issues that often spiral into more serious mental health issues.
- Eating disorders – When we develop an unhealthy relationship with food, it is possible to develop an eating disorder. Eating disorders are more common in young women and teenaged girls, the most common being Anorexia and Bulimia.
- Mood swings – The parts of our brain that control our mood and emotions are directly influenced by the general health of our bodies. That’s why we usually feel so happy when we’re finished exercising!
How Can Healthy Food Counteract Mental Health Issues?
While unhealthy food can cause mental health challenges, healthy food can help do the opposite. Research has shown that the nutrients in natural foods are good for our brain. Vitamins found in healthy fruits and vegetables have unique abilities to promote certain brain function. For example, Omega-3 fatty acids can improve our memory and mood.
The key to a healthy life is simply balance. When we have balanced diets and regular physical activity, our nutrients and hormones are balanced too. It’s healthy to indulge now and then, but listen to your body and it will reward you in return.
If you’re struggling with your mental health or are finding it difficult to develop healthy habits in life, counselling will allow you to work with a professional on behavioural techniques that can help you get started. Call Your Counselling for a free consultation and get started on your journey today.