Why is Healthy Eating Crucial for Mental Wellbeing?

Top 5 benefits of healthy eating for mental wellbeing

Most of us think that eating a well-balanced diet helps maintain good physical health. But the benefits of eating healthy reach the brain and affects our mental health too. So make more informed choices about what goes on your plate.

I am sure you know the feeling of biting into a creamy dessert or munching on a salty and crunchy snack. It feels like your taste buds are doing a happy dance. However, this euphoria is short-lived and soon after the spike, you plunge into a low – your energy levels, mood and focus – all take a hit.

Most of us are aware that processed and unhealthy eating can give one a high for a short duration but if consumed regularly and on a long-term basis, it can prove detrimental, not only to one’s physical health but mental health too. Such dietary patterns can lead to disproportionate weight gain, making one sluggish. The decreased physical activity, in turn, leads to an imbalance in the secretion of chemicals and neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, which are primarily related to maintaining our moods and positive emotions.

‘You are what you eat’ is a universally prevalent phrase. The gut is said to be our second brain and the food that we eat directly impacts our gut health thereby affecting the brain too. For a flourishing gut, the balance of good and bad bacteria is crucial. It influences the production of neurotransmitters which constantly relay messages from the gut to the brain. In fact, gut bacteria produce a number of neurochemicals which directly impact the regulation of physiological and mental processes, according to the American Psychological Association. Another startling fact is that 95% of the body’s supply of serotonin or the happy hormone is produced by gut bacteria. Unfortunately, stress suppresses the beneficial gut bacteria, leading to malfunctioning of the digestive tract thereby effecting our mental health.

So join us as we list 5 great benefits of eating healthy and share how doing so helps us have sound mental and physical health.

Fewer mood swings

A lot of us experience mood swings. They happen when sugar levels go awry as we hog on processed or sugar loaded food. However with a healthy and balanced diet, energy is released on a regular basis, leading us to feel energetic throughout the day.

Oats are among the healthiest grains being gluten-free and a great source of important vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants.  When we start your day with a bowl of oats, it keeps us satiated and beaming with energy for a longer period as they are slow energy releasing as compared to a bowl of creamy pasta or a deep-fried snack.

While an unhealthy option will give us instant energy perking us up, it will soon lead to a crash with falling sugar levels. Irritability, low motivation levels and lethargy also occur when sugar levels in the body go down.

Improved ability to focus

If you want to sharpen your memory and brain power, almonds are a popular choice. Broccoli is also great for memory apart from its various other health-boosting benefits. Avocado, which is a popular food in many countries now, is excellent for cognitive functions like learning, memory, decision making and reasoning. Also, it can come as a revelation that eggplant or aubergine is great for healthy brain cells and messenger molecules.

It is well known that fruits, vegetables and dry fruits nourish the brain and increase alertness and our focus. This also means that we can perform our work or handle chores at home with increased productivity.

Easing out depression and anxiety

Processed and off-the-shelf foods generally contain preservatives. They also contain food colours and other additives that cause or worsen hyperactivity or feelings of anxiety and depression.

On the other hand, fresh fruits and vegetables come in surprisingly beautiful variety of colours. The nutrients present in these rainbow foods have tremendous benefits for the mind and body. A smooth physical and psychological functioning of the body requires sufficient quantities of vitamins and minerals found in these.

Remember this when you want to snack on junk food next time – a colourful and healthy diet helps your body extract appropriate nutrients that keep our chemicals and hormones functioning well and us happy.

Boosts self-esteem

When you eat healthy, feel better and fit, it gives a major boost to your self-esteem as well. And self-esteem is directly related to having a positive body image.

Eating healthy reflects on your weight, skin and general appearance. Shirley W Kaplan from the American Nutrition Association emphasizes on how the human mind and body are one entity itself. With healthy eating comes the smooth functioning of our body and brain and that in turn, fills us with a sense of overall wellness.

Healthy eating and an active you

Healthy eating makes one feel more active and energetic. A timely balanced meal fuels the body for long and adequate work spells.

When you are active, you will find that you can accomplish more physically. Apart from the increased productivity, you will also feel the urge to remain in a momentum. The production of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin or the happy hormones also increase when you do so, and this cycle makes you feel better, energetic, cheerful and upbeat.

Note that eating healthy is not only for your body. It is equally rewarding for your mental health. For instance, you may have always known that snacking on walnuts is a healthy option but may not have been aware that it increases mental alertness too. So a well balanced healthy eating pattern takes you on a fulfilling journey of good health that is a mix of physical and mental wellbeing.


How processed food impacts your health?

Processed, unhealthy eating can give you a high for a short duration but if consumed regularly and on a long-term basis, it can prove detrimental not only for your physical health but mental health too.

Is gut known as the second brain?

Gut is said to be our second brain as the food that we eat directly impacts the gut health, resulting in further impact on our brain.

Do colourful fruits and vegetables promote good health?

A colourful and healthy diet helps our body extract appropriate nutrients that keep the chemicals and hormones functioning well.

Is self-esteem and body image related?

Self-esteem is directly related to a positive body image. Also, when you eat healthy, it reflects on your weight, skin and general appearance.




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