This is a guest post by Nicole Cirrencione, a dietetics student at Northern Illinois University
Typically, when people discuss their nutrition habits, the first thought that comes to mind is overall, general health. It is more of a rarity, however, for those same people to think about the ways that proper nutrition and various types of food can affect cognitive function. That is precisely why it is exceedingly important to dive deep into this topic. Your brain will thank you!
As a student myself, I find it crucial to pay attention to how my meals will lead to better brain function during class. An article by Harvard Health Publishing sums up the most important points of understanding Nutritional Psychiatry: Your Brain on Food. The foods that are used to fuel one’s brain should, naturally, be of the best quality. Let’s say that you were in possession of something that means the world to you such as a car or a pet. Would you give it anything less than what it needed to stay in optimal condition? The point is the same when it comes to feeding your brain. If it is given nutritionally sound foods such as a nice balance of carbs, protein, and healthy fats, it will be able to perform at its maximum effort. However, if it is fed junk food, for lack of a better term, it will perform less than favorably and could even sustain damage over time.
Luckily for those in the field of Dietetics – as well as every single person who has or will ever consume food – the relationship between brain function and nutrition is being recognized more widely now than ever before. The most commonly known side effect of eating the wrong food is mood. One will notice a decline in mood immediately following an unbalanced meal or snack. Why is this? Serotonin, the so-called “happy” chemical in your brain has been linked to mental health because as research shows, a clear majority of it is produced within your digestive tract. It is no wonder that the quality of food affects the quality of moods! The better the essence of the food you take in, the better your mood and overall quality of life will be. In contrast, if a person continuously puts their diet importance on the backburner, it is quite likely that their disposition will decline, as well as their clarity of thought. h
Here are some tips according to several studies that will help to combat those junk food blues:
- If you are stressed or overwhelmed, try to avoid digging into that tub of ice cream. Treat yourself, instead, to options like vegetables, fruit, and healthy fats. It may not feel like an immediate treat, but it will be beneficial for your body, in addition to providing peace of mind.
- Stay away from the Western Diet and steer towards traditional diets like those of the Mediterranean and Japanese countries. These have been praised as some of the most nourishing lifestyles in the world.
There is no better time than right this second to switch up your diet to optimize your brain health. Not only will nutritious eating help one to be in better physical shape, but it can clearly lead to a long lifespan as well
Simple healthy eating can lead to better brain function and make someone feel happier? It sure sounds like a win-win situation for everyone!