It is well known to almost everyone, of the connection between our health and our diet. This article I found in Prevention, takes it a step further. They show the connection between our mental health and our diet.
Many say that our mental health may be equal to, or even more important, then our physical health and our moods and feelings can rely heavily on what we consume in our diet each day.
“My clients easily make the connection between being hungry and being in a bad mood—a.k.a. ‘hangry'—but they don't often realize that what they eat on a daily basis can also have a direct impact on their mood,” says Emily Edison, RD, a dietitian and sports nutritionist in Seattle.
Here are four food categories that have been shown to cause a change to our physical and mental health. I hope this opened your eyes, as it did mine, on the importance of the foods we put into our bodies and how detrimental our choices are in day to day health.
1. Refined carbohydrates
Recently, researchers at Columbia University decided to see if having refined carbohydrates in your diet can make you depressed. Using data from the Women's Health Initiative—which is tracking more than 70,000 women—the researchers found that the higher a woman's blood sugar rose after eating sugar and refined grains, the higher her risk of depression.
Considering the research on refined carbs, it's easy to see how sugar would also contribute to a higher risk of depression. A diet high in sugar can raise levels of inflammation throughout the body and brain—and now research is tying inflammation to higher incidences of depression. One study published in JAMA Psychiatry found that brain inflammation was 30% higher in clinically depressed patients; another study published in the same journal found that patients with mild inflammation who took medication used to treat autoimmune or inflammatory diseases saw decreases in their depression symptoms.
3. Artificial sweeteners
In one study, researchers at the University of Northwestern Ohio looked at the effect of aspartame (an artificial sweetener) on people with a history of depression and found that it significantly worsened symptoms.While aspartame did not cause depression in nondepressed study participants, there is some evidence that the artificial sweetener significantly reduces serotonin levels—the “happy” hormone—in the brain.
4. Processed foods
While studies of diet and depression often focus on specific foods, research published in the British Journal of Psychiatry looked at more than 3,000 people and found that those who ate the most processed food faced increased risk of depression, while those who ate the most whole foods had much lower odds.
Knowing how the foods we consume effect our health, and now, our brain chemistry is of vital importance and making changes to protect our well being must be top priority. Knowledge is power!
If you would like to learn more I recommend you read the rest of the article in: Prevention.