We tend to think of what we eat in terms of its impact on our bodies, but food can be good for your mental health, too. That said, just as some foods can give your mood, emotions and overall mental wellness a great boost, the wrong foods can cause them harm. As a result, it’s a good idea to learn more about what we know on the impact of food so that you can improve your wellness overall, not just focus on the numbers on your bathroom scale.
Research on Food Good for Your Mental Health
Research on food that is good for your mental health is relatively new. While it is known that regular consumption of junk food will actually shrink the brain, understanding that impact on a deeper level is still a work in progress.
That said, doctors and patients alike agree that their food can help to help or harm their depression, anxiety, panic, obsessive compulsions, and overall mood. People eat in order to receive comfort from certain unwanted feelings but the foods they choose can provide them with the benefits they’re seeking or it can worsen their symptoms.
A study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry showed that women who eat more fruit, vegetables, fish and whole grains and whose red meat consumption is moderate have a lower likelihood of anxiety disorders and depression than women on the typical western diet high in processed foods, chips, pizza, white bread, burgers and sweet drinks.
Further Study on Food Good for Your Mental Health
Since that first study was published in 2010, others have followed – particularly larger studies in the United Kingdom in Spain. This research spotted similar trends. These findings are leading to a growing area of nutritional psychiatry in which entire diets (not just specific foods and ingredients) have large impacts on mental health.
As of yet, the link between foods that are good for your mental health have not yet been firmly identified. The reason is that correlations are not proof of causality. However, the more these study results are replicated, the greater the field is understood. Moreover, it is also providing researchers with more information about the types of risk factors that are present.
The medical community is not yet ready to publish a specific diet good for your mental health. That said, they are building toward helpful recommendations to help support better mental health while avoiding potential problems that have been identified by researchers along the way.