The Link Between Diet and Mental Health
Food and Mood
Have you ever felt bad after eating a (albeit) juicy and tasty, but nutrient-empty hamburger? The good feeling on the palate lasts only for a few seconds, though.
‘You are what you eat’. Even though it sounds like a cliché, this saying rings truer than ever in today's world. We are often too busy to pay attention to what we eat and drink on a daily basis because we’re too obsessed with work and everyday chores. But what could be more important than your health, both physical and mental?
Your food affects your mood - whether you like it or not
The relationship between food and mood is a real one, and scientists have only recently started to explore it in more detail. As it turns out, your mood doesn’t depend solely on your brain, at least not just on the one in your head. It also depends on your second brain, which is located in your belly. They say that ‘Gut is your second brain’ -- and for a good reason! Your belly has an enormously big function, it gives your body energy and it controls your mood.
To put things into perspective, a study on laboratory mice has confirmed that there is a strong link between mood and presence of certain gut microbiota.
According to experts, gut influences our mood and appetites in ways we are yet to comprehend.
Food or nutritional psychiatry
These interesting insights gave rise to the brand-new branch dubbed nutritional or food psychiatry. Traditionally, doctors haven’t been trained to view mood in such a way. But new research has shed light on how we can treat depression, anxiety and even some more serious diseases like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia through repopulating human gut flora with good bacteria and radically changing the way people eat. A growing body of evidence now suggests that lower-quality diet, rich in fat, salt and sugar, indeed does increase the risk of depression, anxiety and other psychological issues. Whole foods, fruits and vegetables, on the other hand, can help re-populate your gut with good bacteria, and even boost your mood!