Do you have tons of work and studying to do?! Do you have just too little time to meet you your nutritional need?! Do you suffer from anxiety and psychological pressure?! Do you think that what you eat has a direct effect on your emotional and psychological state?!

I, like many of you, do not have quite enough time to eat balanced and healthy meals. However, my passion for nutrition drove me to investigate the relation between our behavior, psyche and nervous system on one hand, and our eating habits on the other hand. In this article, I will provide you with the results of my research.

What are the kinds of food that preferable by most people?

In multiple studies that have been conducted on a group of teenagers between the ages of 13-15 years old, about the kinds of the foods they like, it was  found that more than two-thirds of them prefer fast food and fried foods, red meat and foods rich in sugar, and they do not drink the necessary amount of water per day!

Do these dietary habits have an impact on the psychological behavior of adolescents in particular?!

Yes, undoubtedly! The study confirmed that these adolescents who follow the former diet, suffer from behavioral disorders such as bad moods, nervousness and violence compared to others who rely on a healthy diet based on fruits and vegetables and fresh fish.

We have all had our fair share of psychological pressure and stress in different stages of out lives. In fact, some of us may fall victims to anxiety  phases. So, how does the food we eat contribute to this?

In an American study conducted by the National Association for Eating Disorders, it was observed that people who follow a healthier diet are less likely to be affected by anxiety attacks, and that the people who depend on low-carbohydrate diets are more susceptible to stress, because carbohydrates are essential for energy production and the work of the brain.Some neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine which are responsible for the improved mental state and mood need those carbs to function properly.

On the other hand, eating too much sugar and carbohydrates will lead to high blood sugar levels, which directly affects the mental state and mood, and causes mood swings that leave you feeling sad and gloomy.

Do you suffer from sleep disorders or frequent waking during sleep?!

If yes, then you have to pay attention to your eating habits first, because excessive eating, especially fatty foods will lead to sleep disorders, which will reflect negatively on the physical and mental activities that you should go about every day.

And we can experience sleeping disorders too when we sleep on an empty stomach as hunger also causes the same problem!

After what was mentioned, you may ask the question: Do food habits have long-term effects on the neurological and mental health?

Yes, of course there are effects, studies have shown that people who depend on fresh fruits and vegetables and fish-rich and saturated-fat foods are less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, mood swings and depression.

Some of you may complain now, saying “After reading this, there seems to be very limited food options for us if we want to maintain a good psychological well-being and steer away from the causes of distress!”

To address this complaint, I have put some tips that will be of interest to you if you decided to choose what eat wisely:

  • You stay away from sugars and carbohydrate-rich foods and replace them with healthy carbohydrates such as whole grains (oats, brown wheat, barley, quinoa, brown rice), legumes (chickpeas, peas, beans), in addition to vegetables, you should eat a healthy amount of fruits, milk and nuts.
  • Eating more saturated fats that are essential for brain health and mental health, such as omega-3 and found primarily in fish, walnuts, almond oil, olive oil, raisins, flax-seed and soybeans also exist in the form of dietary supplements.
  • Reduce fried and junk food as much as you can because they contain large amounts of saturated fat, and stay away from soft drinks and processed juices because they contain large amounts of sugar.
  • Try to exercise at least three times a week. Walking is the best work out as it is one of the most influential on the psychological and behavioral state.
  • Drink a lot of water as it relieves tension and feelings of fatigue and stress.

Make sure that the pattern of a person's life is what defines his psyche, temperament as well as  success in life, and I think that the phrase “you are what you eat” is absolutely accurate, for what you eat clearly reflects not only on your skin, facial expressions and physique, but also on your mood but and overall life harmony.

Revised by:
Doaa El Borai
A pharmacist from Gaza, I have passion for the field of nutrition. I am particularly interested in human psychology and its effect on our dietary habits and general well-being. I have taken online classes on health and nutrition. Moreover, I own Facebook pages with thousands of followers where I talk about pharmaceutics and medications. You can find the links to those pages here below: The world of pharmacy: fb.com/The.World.of.Pharmacy Pharmacists and Doctors Online: fb.com/togreaterhealth/ Professional Pharmacists of Palestine Facebook Group: fb.com.com/groups/402564766614108/