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The Effects of Processed Foods on our Mental Health

This post is written by a talented young writer, Patrick Bailey. He writes mainly about mental health and does so to overcome the stigma often associated with mental illness. 

Processed foods do a lot more to us than you think. Not only can they affect our general physical health, but they can affect our mental health, as well. The food that you eat is the fuel that you need to make it through the day and do many different things throughout that day. It is only natural that processed foods that are not wholesome are not going to be good for your mind or body.

Eating well may be associated with the feeling of well-being, which is what many want when they are trying to eat healthier, lose weight and feel better about themselves overall. The importance of having a good nutritional food intake is increasingly important when it comes to how you feel and how well you want to feel.

Eating saturated fats and processed foods have been shown to increase negative emotions, while also increasing fat and depression in some. This then leads to a poorer diet and worse-off physical and mental health in the person.

Some people believe that eating comfort foods brings the feeling of happiness with it. This, however, is untrue. It has been shown that these foods, while rewarding during the time you are eating them, they are actually providing negative effects in the body after you are done eating them. This then causes you to feel worse. Thus, making you want the feeling again. This is how many people find themselves gaining weight through comfort eating.

The Food You Eat

Affects How You Feel

The food that you put into your system is going to affect the outcome of how you feel. This is because 95% of the serotonin that is found in your body is found through the gastrointestinal tract. With thousands upon thousands of neurons found in this tract, they send impulses throughout your body to your brain. This tract works to not only digest your food, but also regulate the emotions that you feel.Unhealthy_snacks_in_cart

In line with these findings, it has also been shown that those that eat a traditional meal plan, such as a Japanese diet or a Mediterranean diet over a Western diet, have over a 30% less chance of having depression.

Depression is the second leading cause of disability, right after heart disease. This means that the diet, and what you put in your mouth, is going to affect how you feel. When the body is not getting enough of the vitamins and minerals that it needs to uplift itself, this is when the negative affects are seen in the body and emotions. The same would happen for someone who is not getting enough sunlight or fresh air on a regular basis. Their body and mind would be affected by this.

It has also been shown that depression is not the only risk that those take in getting when not eating a well-balanced diet. Those that do not have an adequate meal plan or diet are also shown to have a heightened risk of anxiety. This is something that many more physicians are paying attention to, as changing a diet and introducing new fruits and vegetables can completely change the mental illnesses that some individuals are dealing with.

Kids are Seeing the

Results of Poor Diets

Adults are not the only ones that are affected by this. More than 17  million kids throughout the US are affected by some type of mental illness. This number has risen and continues to rise throughout the years, causing further issues. The risk of depression in these kids increases to up to 80% in kids that have a poor diet, as compared to those that eat a nutritionally balanced diet full of vegetables, fruits and the right balance of vitamins and minerals.highly processed breakfast cereals

Another great study that was done showed that even mothers who ate a better diet while pregnant with the children had a better chance of providing the child with less health and emotional problems as they age. The more appropriate the nutritional value for the mother and wholesome it is, the better it will be for the unborn baby in the womb. Studies show that these children that receive adequate nutrition as early as in the womb have a much lesser chance of developing anxiety, depression, or other mental illnesses as they grow.

Providing children with more junk food during the first years of life is linked to poor behavior, more emotional outbursts, and other emotional problems that the children go through.

In a study that was conducted with 120 kids, it was shown that children with poor diets were more likely to show symptoms of ADHD or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Though this is not something that has been put down on paper indefinitely, it has been shown and thought that diet can play a crucial role in the mental health of those children that are not getting adequately fed or not being fed the right combination of foods in a regular, healthy diet.

What Foods Should You

and Shouldn’t You Eat?

In order to get a well-balanced diet and the best nutrition plan to reduce the chances of having mental illnesses, depression or anxiety then you should know what to remove from the diet and what to include.

Any highly processed foods that are high in sugar or are fried should not be consumed. If they are, they should not be consumed often. Having high amounts of these foods can increase the chances of having depression, anxiety or other mental illnesses.peeling-zuccini

Those that want to reduce the chances of having any of these mental illnesses can increase their vegetable and fruit intake. It is important to stay away from some of the fruit that have high natural sugars in them, as they can cause the body to get too much sugar, such as grapes. Nuts, whole grains, legumes, fish and unsaturated fats are ideal to add to the diet, as these can add additional nutrients and vitamins to the body that the fruits and vegetables are unable to provide.

Another benefit besides a reduced risk of depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses is that when you eat healthier, you feel better, you look better and you have a better immune system. This healthy food gives your immune system the boost it needs to keep you healthier and more active.

By taking note of how eating makes you feel, you can find out what foods might cause a bad reaction not only in your body but with your mind. You can also find out what foods uplift you and put you in a good mood. The new name for this phenomenon that is sweeping the nation is “nutritional psychiatry.”

Having depressing feelings is not normal. When you are depressed, you are also much more likely to use alcohol or drugs in a recreational way, causing an addiction that can be tough to get rid of. There are many things that can happen when diet is not something that you think about or put much thought into. A healthy diet is important for so many reasons, make sure that you are eating a well-balanced, healthy diet to reduce the chances of having something happen or the cause of a mental health issue that you may develop or already have.


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