Junk food and Mental health
We hear “you are what you eat” quite often, but I do not think that we understand the weight of those words. Studies after studies have shown that what you eat cannot only impact your physical health but also your mental health. Below, let’s explore the ties between junk food and mental health.
A recent study was done by Jim E. Banta, Ph.D., MPH, associate professor at Loma Linda University School of Public Health has shown that regardless of personal characteristics such as gender, age, education, income level, or marital status, poor diet quality is linked to poor mental health.
Some of this has been attributed to your gut-brain connection, seeing as the GI tract had been shown in the past to not only help digest and absorb nutrients but also affect your emotional and mental well-being.
Other emerging body of evidence links health diets and mental health. According to a longitudinal study from the University of Leeds, UK, the daily consumption of fruit and vegetables can improve mental wellbeing, and increase the frequency and quantity of consumption may also affect mental health.
Where to go from here
Many scholars believe that you should be eating the rainbow on your plate, with a variety of foods in every single color imaginable. This ensures that you are not only getting the nutrients necessary, but also feeding the good bacteria within the GI tract and simultaneously helping your mental health. Cutting back from junk Foods is also highly suggested, with only consuming it perhaps one to two times a week. Most people consider junk food as fast-food restaurants, chips, sodas, cookies, snack cakes (eg. Little Debbies), and overly sugary desserts. I also highly encourage you to check out my blog post on specific foods that can help with your mental health.
Sources: Nutrition Insight “You are what you eat? Junk food diet linked to psychological distress, CA study shows”
ScienceDaily “Junk food is linked to both moderate and severe psychological distress” by Loma Linda University Adventist Health Sciences Center
Danielle Omar “The Science Behind Eating the Rainbow”