What we eat doesn’t just impact our weight, hunger or energy. Current science suggests that the choices you make in your diet can have vast implications for your overall physical health. and Mental Health. For example, a study 2022 found a link between ultra-processed foods and depression, and a study 2020 in the European Journal of Human Genetics reported a link between poor diet and mental health disorders in young people. Food and our behaviors around it can impact everything from mood to self-esteem…so protect your mental well-being by avoiding these four harmful eating habits, as one dietitian specializing in the link between food and psychology.
By taking care of your mind? Also, don’t miss 5 eating habits that benefit your mental health, according to a registered dietitian
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“While the brain prefers glucose as a fuel source, a number of studies show that a high-sugar diet is linked to low mood and depression,” explains Kitty Broihier, MS, RD, LDOwner of NutriComm and creator of Food habits laboratory. “Sugar consumption increases inflammation in the body, which may also be a factor in the mental response to a sugary diet. It can be quite easy to identify sugary foods in the diet, but it’s also important to consider what you drink.
Sugary drinks such as sodas have been linked to many health problems, including an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and fatty liver disease. It even harms your neurological health: according to a study by the Frontiers of psychiatry, regular consumption of sugary drinks has been associated with increased psychological and behavioral problems in adolescents, and led to negative mental health outcomes for adults.
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Sugar is an important part of what many nutrition professionals call the Standard American Diet (SAD). The abbreviation for this diet is unfortunately apt: following the SAD also means consuming large amounts of saturated fat and refined or processed foods. Research has shown that consuming these may increase the risk of symptoms of depression, according to the journal. PLOS ONE.
However, there is no denying that these foods are convenient. Sometimes a quick run through the drive-thru is needed when you’re hungry and trying to maintain a healthy blood sugar level. But you can always try to keep your meals convenient without overdoing it on saturated fats and refined foods, like choosing these 10 healthy fast food options the next time you order.
Calorie counting is a traditional way of trying to lose weight and get healthy, but Broihier points out that hyper-fixation on numbers can negatively affect your mental health over time. “Tracking can be a useful tool, especially when you’ve just established a new habit or are starting to kick an unnecessary habit,” she says, while adding, “[…B]But when you do it long-term, that habit can turn into an obsession that eventually rules your life.
Broihier usually encourages new customers to start with tracking, then eventually urges them to forgo the tool in order to set a healthier, overall limit. healthier habits.
So instead of counting, she says, many experts recommend incorporating a balance of healthy foods in your diet. Then, pay attention to how you feel as you receive it.
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Studies show how inflammation in the body can increase the risk of depression, and scientists suggest finding ways to reduce it. Your diet can play a major role in increased inflammationso choosing to eat anti-inflammatory foods — like vegetables, fruits and fish — on a regular basis can help lower the risk of depression, compared to a diet high in added sugars, sodas and junk foods, according to the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.
Try incorporating these 18 anti-inflammatory foods into your diet to make the most of their health benefits, while maintaining your sanity.