Mental Health and Nutrition: Comfort Foods Not What You Think

By Jennifer Lamanna

The foods you eat can have a tremendous impact on your mental health. Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet can relieve stress, anxiety, depression and put you in control of your mental health. Sometimes stress on the body can be considered healthy. However, if the body is under stress for a long period of time, it can have a negative impact on your overall mental health.

New Canadian research as reported in Postmedia News May 24, 2012 shows that high fat diets increase anxiety and depressive-like behaviours in mice. This runs counter to what we may think about high fat foods as being “comfort foods.” According to the lead researcher rich foods cause chemical reactions which eventually lead to depression after people experience an initial “feel good” high.

Eating low quality, processed, or chemically altered foods is a stressor for your body – – poor quality foods are ultimately empty nutrients which cause stress to your body. Some foods to avoid are: caffeine, sugar, alcohol, refined carbohydrates, and trans fats. Eating whole healthy foods that are packed with nutrients can fight off stress and have a positive impact on your mental health, to name a few: sweet potatoes, quinoa, lentils, almonds, spinach, raw cocoa, and wild salmon.

Always remember if you are under stress due to reason, think about what you are putting into your body and how it can be impacting your overall mental health.