The Connection Between Mental Health and Food

For people struggling with mental illness, eating can have all kinds of positive and negative meanings. Some foods can help or hinder the maintenance of a healthy emotional state, others can cause unhealthy spirals: they can contribute to certain mental health problems that can cause dramatic changes in eating habits and aggravate these mental health problems.

It’s important to mention that food alone does not fix mental health issues and anyone who tells you otherwise is likely to try to sell you something. However, it is an extremely important part of our daily lives that affects mood, energy and bowel chemistry, and it is often associated with triggers or symptoms related to mental illness. As an effective method of self-care, mental health maintenance, and healing over time, eating is very effective.

Unhealthy diet

“Unhealthy” has many meanings when it comes to food. It can mean too much, too little, the wrong kinds of food, or it can simply mean an emotional relationship to food.

There are a lot of documents about the connections between nutrition and psychology. Food is fundamental to our survival, but as self-conscious, thinking beings, our relationship to them is much more complicated than biological necessity. It can become an influential aspect of our memories and our child development, helping to develop relationships with our self-esteem, our well-being and our fear. Food is present in our lives every day; Even if we do not consume it actively, the food stands out in his absence. When we think about something so much – when it becomes part of so many experiences – we have to develop complex associations with it.

For many people with mental illness, eating can be both a source of help and an obstacle. Bad food can trigger a downward spiral of negative moods, which in turn reduces motivation to eat well. Especially with depression and anxiety, the extra energy needed to correct an unhealthy habit is not possible while a mood swings or a depressive episode persists.

This harmful relationship need not be in the form of bulimia or other conspicuous disorders. Sometimes there are even positive associations with food, such as nostalgia, which cause us problems if we do not grow up with a healthy diet.

Physical health problems associated with a poor diet make it difficult for many people to recover and / or learn to live with mental illness, which aggravates the cycle.

Eating as a positive influence

On the other hand, food can be of enormous help to people, whether they are struggling with mental illness or just trying to live a healthier and more energetic life.

Eating has an impact on the brain, our cognition and our emotional state. The right mix of vitamins, minerals, oils, healthy fats, and everything else that goes with a balanced diet can help improve our brain function, energy levels, and memory, and guide emotions. To take a break now, it is important to make one thing clear again: Eating right is not a cure. It is certainly a very effective way to relieve symptoms and maintain healthy habits. For many people, however, medical intervention must come first. Healthy habits generally need a healthy state of mind to form because they require effort.

Once you find yourself in a place where it makes sense to make additional efforts, eating is an effective way to keep you there. Certain foods such as salmon and chamomile relieve the symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Stack of healthy habits; they nourish each other like unhealthy ones. An important way to keep a good routine going is to recognize the first signs of self-sabotage – the games our mind plays with itself, the doubts and fears we cause, and the inactivity or unhealthy actions to lead. Recognizing the beginning of this process and, if necessary, early search for help is one of the ways to avoid dangers to our sanity.

Keep in mind that a healthy and balanced diet does not exclude enjoyment. Occasional pampering is part of self-care, and if you do not allow it, you will end up in a storm of guilt and a desire to start an unhealthy cycle. “Cheeky” food like chocolate actually makes us feel better, and even if we actively nourish ourselves, it can help from time to time.

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