Did you know there is a direct correlation between food and mental health?
Your brain is an organ, and just like any other organ in your body it relies heavily on what we are putting into our bodies for "fuel" or nutrients to maintain adequate function. It is no secret that diet heavily influences many aspects of our life and health including athletic performance, disease manifestation, diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers but no one talks about the hit our mental health can take from food.
There are many various ways people handle emotional stressors. Some people tend to over eat or "stress eat" then there are some people who eat very little, both negatively impact our mental health.
Our brain utilizes nutrients from pure foods such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and healthy fats but our brain negatively reacts to certain chemicals or "free radicals" that are produced from the waste in our foods which results in cell damage, increased insulin levels, and increased inflammation within the body.
Serotonin is a chemical within our body that carries messages between the nerve cells in the brain and carries throughout your body. Serotonin plays a key role in regulating sleep, appetite, mediating moods, sexual desire, digestion, and even pain. 95% of your Serotonin is produced in your GI (Gastrointestinal) tract. If your GI tract becomes damaged or weakened your body will have a harder time producing and distributing Serotonin throughout the body resulting in emotional fluctuation.
I encourage you next time you're having a tough day, week, or even month when the only thing you can think about is devouring that bag of reese's pieces in your bed, ordering a large pizza, or maybe finishing off the tub of ice cream in your freezer to nourish your body with nutrient rich foods.