It is well known that unhealthy eating patterns can cause mood swings. Blood sugar fluctuations and nutritional imbalances are often to blame. Without a steady source of fuel from the foods we eat, our mind and bodies don’t function well. Here’s how some unhealthy eating habits can alter your mood and emotional well-being:
Beyond mood and general well-being, the role of diet and nutrition on mental health is very complex and has yet to be fully understood. However, research linking the two is growing at a rapid rate. In recent years, evidence shows that food can contribute to the development, prevention, and management of mental health conditions, including depression and anxiety disorders.
Researchers are also taking a closer look at why diet may influence mental health. Studies are exploring diet’s effects on gut microbiota (organisms in the intestinal tract), neuroplasticity (brain’s ability to modify structure, wiring and function), oxidative stress (cellular damage) and chronic inflammation.
While we still have much to learn about the effects of dietary patterns on mental health issues, evidence suggests that eating a healthy diet can have a protective effect. In fact, many believe that good nutrition is as important to mental health as it is to physical health. Here are some positive changes you can make to improve your eating to support your mental health:
Following a healthy eating plan can keep you energized and help you to feel your best. While good nutrition is an important component of your emotional well-being, it is not a substitute for proper medical care and treatment. If you have concerns about your mental health, talk to your health care provider.
Amy Magill, MA, RD, LDN enjoys providing tips on how manage your moods as well as your food choices as Manager of Clinical Programs and nutrition writer for Walgreens. Find a variety of vitamins at Walgreens.com to supplement a nutritious diet.
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