5 Ways The Food You Eat Affects Your Wellbeing

Many studies have investigated how your diet affects your mood. Here are 5 ways, for better and for worse...

More and more people are driven by the power of positive thoughts to have a happier life. The reality, however, is that your diet affects your mood immensely and positive thoughts are nothing if you are sabotaging your body.

I have always had a fairly healthy diet. Yet, I started to pay more attention to the foods that made me feel full of energy and happier, and I incorporated more of those and less of the others. The results were incredible and I found that I was able to maintain that overall sense of wellbeing and positivity far more consistently.

Many studies have investigated how your diet affects your mood. Here are 5 ways:

1. Fast food increases depression


According to a study published in the Public Health Nutrition journal, scientists from the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and the University of Granada discovered that people who ate fast food were 51% more likely to develop depression, when compared to those who ate little to none at all.

Our society has become acclimatized to the fast-food culture because it is quick and easy. The same, however, can also be said about its route to health problems and depression.

2. Mediterranean cuisine is more beneficial


survey concluded that "adherence to the Mediterranean dietary pattern (MDP) is thought to reduce inflammatory, vascular, and metabolic processes that may be involved in the risk of clinical depression."

Balance is the key here. Fortunately, a more mediterranean style of eating is easy to incorporate into your eating habits as it is full of vegetables, fruits, fish, nuts and olive oil.

3. Too much sugar is harmful


The average American eats 22 teaspoons of sugar daily derived from processed food and sugary drinks. Yet, many don't realize the danger of sugar addiction even though it can, in fact, cause a lot of damage physically, mentally and emotionally.

“Animal studies have shown that refined sugar is more addictive than cocaine, heroin or morphine,” says Dr. Pamela Peeke, author of The Hunger Fix.

“An animal will choose an Oreo over morphine. Why? This cookie has the perfect combination of sugar and fat to hijack the brain’s reward center” says Peeke.

Pleasure receptors are stimulated each time sugar is consumed, which is what creates craving or addiction. Dr. Mark Hyman, physician and New York Times best-selling author, contends that sugar can be eight times more addictive than cocaine.

It is completely fine to enjoy your favorite sugary snack or dessert from time to time. But overindulging on a consistent basis is where sugar becomes a problem.

4. Start the day with a healthy breakfast


In a fast-paced life, most people do not have the time to have a proper breakfast, and in fact, a lot of people miss it completely. Having a healthy breakfast is vital since it helps you to have a positive mood and feel less tired.

“If you miss breakfast, you’re likely to be tired, fatigued and have a hard time concentrating,” said Brianne MacKenzie, a registered dietician with the Cleveland Clinic.

“When you have some protein at breakfast, like milk, you also have some carbohydrates like whole grain cereal, it helps to keep you feeling full for the rest of the day so you can control your hunger.”

5. Caffeine causes mood swings


You may have a frequent supply of caffeine that you consume through out the day, unaware of how a caffeine diet affects your mood. Caffeine is often overlooked since it comes in many everyday beverages such as coffee, soft drinks or even tea.

Ronald Griffiths, professor of psychiatry and neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University, described caffeine as the most widely used drug in the world which alters behavior and mood.

The reality is that caffeine stimulates the central nervous system and as a result, has a huge impact on emotions. A little bit of caffeine (for example, 8oz of coffee each day) isn't a bad thing, and some studies have even shown there are benefits. However, too much can swing the pendulum in the opposite direction, causing issues with your wellbeing and your health.