The Impact of Diet on Mental Health

January 2, 2014

The Impact of Diet on Mental Health

There have been many studies that have linked mental health, and most notably depression, with the food that we eat. Researchers studied a variety of “favorites”, such as:

  • Doughnuts
  • Fairy Cakes
  • Croissants
  • Hot dogs
  • Hamburgers
  • Pizza


Essentially, commercial baked goods and fast food have been found to have a negative impact on the mental psyche, leading to the possibility of depression. Much of this is linked to a lack of physical behavior, which leads to negative physical growth, as well as the development of poor self-esteem.

The studies also conclude that the consumption of B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, and olive oil play a preventative role when it comes to depression. B vitamins, especially, play an active role toward maintaining increased energy levels and living a healthy lifestyle.

Poor diet comes combined with unhealthy lifestyle habits (such as lounging around, watching too much television, or lacking in physical activity) leads to feeling negative.  Most people know that eating fast food and commercial bakery goods is unhealthy, yet the reason people indulge is often associated with convenience and the fact that it tastes good.  It provides comfort for many people (aka, stress eating), but it leads to a vicious cycle of feeling good (temporarily), only to be let down by guilt after the indulgence is over.

Recognition of the real problems

The real underlying problems associated with poor dietary choices and the subsequent low self-esteem needs to be addressed, and rather than truly address the epidemic, it is simply becoming more and more acceptable. The idea of living casual and non-eventful days is much more acceptable in today’s society; there isn’t enough pressure or consideration put toward where the problems truly begin.

An effective way to address this problem isn’t necessarily to make a public service announcement, as people are aware of the problems. It’s about educating the youth who don’t fully have an understanding of just how serious the problem is. When one looks at the obesity epidemic (most notably recognized in America), then the proper resolve should be to put more effort into the education that schools deliver to our youth. In addition to education, there should be more action put forward in what the schools offer for meals; there should be healthier options made available rather than high-sugar and high-fat snacks that currently pollute the common school cafeteria.

It is easy to point the finger at society and blame marketing on today’s poor diet choices, but the ability to deliver a solution to the widespread problems is an entirely separate matter. When people eat poorly and are inactive, then of course depression can become an issue. Whether it is unhappiness around the way we physically look, unhappiness because of the amount we get done in a day, or whatever the case may be, it’s easier to claim and remain stuck.  Solutions are right there, but the cloud of depression tends to keep us from utilizing them.  It might be a hard first step, but once you take that first step, each subsequent step becomes a little bit easier.

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