Good food can be a mood booster. If you’ve been hungry all day, a big meal almost feels like a warm hug as it soothes your body. While food can affect your mood on a short-term basis, there is significant scientific evidence that the meals you put in your body affect your mental wellbeing. Eating a healthy, wholesome diet can help your mental health in multiple ways, including the following.
Fewer Mood Swings
The first way a healthy diet benefits your mental health is by giving you fewer mood swings. Processed and unhealthy foods are often full of artificial sugars that your body isn’t entirely sure how to handle. When these sugars hit your bloodstream, you may feel a burst of sudden euphoria and energy that makes you feel like you can conquer the world. Unfortunately, these sugars don’t last long in your body. Your cells eat through them quickly, leaving your mood to drop and you to experience a classic “sugar crash.”
On the flip side, eating healthy foods with natural sugars gives you longer-lasting energy. Foods like fruit, veggies, and whole grains digest slower in the body, allowing your cells to access vital nutrients for a longer period of time. You’ll experience little to no crash, so your mood can stay elevated throughout the day. If you find yourself getting low-energy on a long shift, drinking a natural supplement shake such as Thrive can help. Thrive side effects are low due to the use of natural ingredients, so you don’t have to worry about your health in the long run. By eating healthy, natural foods, you can have fewer mood swings during the day.
Reduced GI Inflammation
The second way a healthy diet benefits your mental health is by reducing GI inflammation. While these two things may seem unconnected, your gastrointestinal tract is vital to your mental wellbeing. Your gut is home to billions of essential bacteria that control the brain’s production of neurotransmitters, namely dopamine and serotonin. Without these neurotransmitters, you run the short-term risk of being in a bad mood and the long-term risk of developing mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression.
When you eat unhealthy foods, your gut becomes inflamed, and good bacteria die off. This causes a chain reaction that ultimately ends in reduced neurotransmitter production. On the flip side, eating nutritious foods promotes good bacteria growth, reduces inflammation, and encourages neurotransmitter development. Additionally, reducing inflammation in your gut can help you feel less bloated and more energetic throughout the day. Eating high-quality foods takes care of your body on a minute level.
Increased Processing Speed
The final way that eating clean can benefit your mental health is with increased processing speed. While it’s easy to reduce your brain to some type of mythical entity that controls all your actions, the simple fact is that it’s an organ in your body. It needs fuel to function. Eating healthy foods gives your brain the necessary components to forge new neural pathways and strengthen current ones, which in turn increases your processing speed.
Alongside making you think faster, a healthy diet is also linked to better memory and reduced premature aging. While some conditions like Alzheimer’s can be hereditary, eating wholesome foods can reduce your risk and severity ahead of time. Additionally, eating well lowers your chances of having a stroke, which could lead to certain types of dementia. While there’s nothing wrong with having a cookie or your favorite candy every once in a while, your diet must be primarily composed of whole, nutritious foods if you want to protect your brain.
Overall, the connection between food and mental health is strong. By eating well, you can safeguard your mind and keep your body healthy.