The things that we expose ourselves to can have a significant effect on our health. The air we breathe, the food weeat, and the things that we do can all affect us. These things can play a role in contributing to our physical state. It’s good to prioritize physical health, but mental and emotional well-being is just as important.
Exposing ourselves to good things can have a beneficial effect on our health. This is especially notable with the food that we eat. Equally important is the kind of eating habits that we develop. The physical effects of eating habits are already well-studied. What many people overlook is the effect that these habits can have on one’s mental and emotional state.
Does the food we eat have an effect on our mental & emotional state?
The food that we eat can affect our physical, emotional, and mental health. Eating habits are crucial, and getting ample nutrients at the right time should help the body function properly. Conversely, a lack of these nutrients could cause disease while eating excessive junk could lead to the formation of diseases.
What many people overlook is the effect of a person’s physical state on the body’s mental and emotional aspect. Keeping a healthy body leads to a healthy mind. In fact, studies have found that physical health can directly impact a person’s mental or emotional health. Injuries, for example, can trigger certain emotional responses. Poor physical health can also cause mental and emotional disorders. Some of these are the following:
- Depression: Depression is mainly characterized by feelings of extreme loneliness, emptiness, or inadequacy. This disorder can be deadly if left untreated since it can also cause suicidal thoughts. People in poor physical health are more likely to develop symptoms of depression.
- Anxiety: People in poor physical health also become more prone to suffering anxiety attacks. This can further spiral into other disorders.
- Poor self-esteem: The physical state that a person is in can affect self-esteem. People in excellent health tend to be more confident. The opposite tends to be true for people in poor physical health.
- Mood swings: The state of the body directly impacts a person’s mood. Processes in the brain are directly influenced by the body’s status. These processes control moods and emotions.
- Negative emotions: Those with poor physical health become more likely to suffer from more negative emotions.
- Eating disorders: The development of eating disorders also becomes a possibility for people in poor health. Injuries or sicknesses, for example, can lead a person to binge-eating or eating less than normal. These can possibly become habits in the long run.
Eating disorders can be particularly problematic. These can cause a cycle that can severely impact a person’s physical and emotional health. An eating disorder, for example, can cause poor physical health due to lack of nutrition. This poor physical health can cause other emotional disorders. These disorders can further cause other physical health problems. It is quite the vicious circle.
Some of the most common eating disorders are the following:
- Bulimia: Bulimia causes a binge-and-purge cycle for those that suffer this condition. Patients tend to binge-eat and forcibly remove the calories afterward. A common way of doing this is by forcing one’s self to vomit.
- Anorexia: This disorder is commonly equated to feelings of being obsessed with keeping a low body weight. This can lead to undereating, forced vomiting, or excessive exercise.
- Binge-Eating Disorder: This is characterized by bouts of excessive food consumption. People with BED report difficulties in stopping themselves from eating.
If you or someone you love is struggling with an eating disorder, it is important to seek professional help as quickly as possible. Eating disorders can have severe ramifications and can be life-threatening.
How do food and eating habits affect the mental and emotional state?
Food and eating habits can also directly affect a person’s mental and emotional state. The things we expose ourselves to impact our mental and emotional health directly. Food is no exception. The following are some of the direct effects that food can have on our mental state:
- Neurotransmitters: Neurotransmitters are chemicals in the brain that serve many functions. These affect a person’s mood, emotions, and thinking. Food and eating habits can directly impact these neurotransmitters.
- Nutrition: The nutrients found in the food that we eat literally become the building blocks of our brains. Much of the energy we get also goes to the brain.
- Discipline: Proper eating habits can build a person’s discipline regarding food. On the other end, poor habits can negatively impact one’s discipline.
The vicious circle of poor habits can be reversed. But it takes a conscious and consistent effort to get things on track.
Why is it important to develop good eating habits?
Eating healthy food regularly and positively affects mental health. Good eating habits play an equally important role. There are many reasons why you should develop good eating habits and here are some of them:
- The nutrients in food are good for your brain: Healthy food contains nutrients that directly affect your brain. Vitamin B affects the rates of brain inflammation. Omega-3 fatty acids can improve memory and mood. Zinc can help the brain and body cope with stress. Food with probiotics can help decrease the chances of mental disorders. Make sure you get all these nutrients in ample amounts.
- It keeps your weight in check: Good eating habits can keep excess weight off. This does not just involve healthy eating. Knowing when and what to eat also counts.
- It decreases the likelihood of both physical and mental diseases: Improper eating habits can cause many kinds of diseases to become much more likely to affect a person. On the opposite side, many illnesses are prevented by proper eating habits.
- Improves your energy: Healthy habits can help improve your energy, and healthy eating is one of these habits.
You can see the many benefits that proper nutrition brings.
How to develop good eating habits
We all want to develop good eating habits and improve our lifestyles. However, these things are much easier said than done. While difficult, developing good eating habits is very much possible. Here are some ways to help you develop these habits.
1. Eat frequently
Eating frequently is better as opposed to eating enormous amounts a few times a day. Try keeping small portions of food with you to get you through the little bouts of hunger.
2. Know the food you need to eat or avoid
We all know the type of food we should be eating or avoiding. This list, however, is not universal. We all have individual differences, thanks to our genes. What’s good for one person may not be necessarily good for another. Try to observe which types of food you should be avoiding.
3. Develop a taste for healthy food
One of the hardest things about eating healthy is food fatigue. Eating healthy is usually associated with blandness. Test new recipes and experiment with flavors, Know which ingredients work well together. Doing these can help you develop a better taste for healthy food. This makes healthy eating much more sustainable.
4. Have a cheat day
Take a day off from healthy eating once in a while. Eat that cheeseburger, order a pizza, or have a soda. Having a cheat day once in a while can keep you and your taste buds from getting too fatigued. Just be careful to not turn your cheat day into a cheat week or a cheat month. Remember that junk is okay once in a while but never in excess.
How Counselling Can Help
If you are concerned about your eating habits and their effect on your mental and emotional well being, professional counselling can be of great help. By talking to a counsellor who has experience in dealing with the vicious circle of eating and emotions, you can overcome these negative habits and be well on your way to feeling better, having more confidence, and getting more out life.
Contact us today to find out more and to set up an appointment.