Psychological Benefits of Eating Healthy

by Alia Butler

About Alia Butler

Alia Butler holds a Master of Social Work from Washington University, St. Louis, concentrating in mental health, and a Master of Arts in social-organizational psychology from Columbia University. Currently, Butler is a freelance writer, penning articles focusing on mental health, healthy living and issues surrounding work-life balance. She is the principle/owner of ALIA Living, LLC, providing residential interior design services, professional organizing and life coaching.

X

Overview

What you put into your body not only affects your physical well-being, but it can also impact your overall psychological well-being. Foods influence mood and contribute to the experience of both positive and negative feelings. Therefore, making healthy food choices can contribute to a variety of improvements to your overall mental and psychological state.

Reducing Mental Illness

Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet has been shown to impact a number of mental health conditions positively. Healthy eating can help reduce depression symptoms, reduce the chances of bipolar episodes, reduce anxiety and reduce the negative symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Eating regular, healthy meals can keep blood sugar levels steady which can reduce the dips in mood associated with depression and anxiety. Also, a diet that is based in healthy eating will limit the sugar intake, which will keep sugar-induced spikes in energy from triggering episodes of mania. The symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder can be reduced by healthy eating, because low sugar diets and diets comprised of healthy vegetables and fruits can help improve concentration and reduce hyperactivity. In addition, a healthy diet will keep alcohol intake to a minimum, which will help reduce all these mental health symptoms. Depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder can all be triggered or worsened by alcohol intake.

Increased Energy

According to Helpguide.org, eating a healthy diet can boost your energy levels. Energy can improve your mood and make you feel better about yourself. Unhealthy foods, such as those high in sugar and refined grains, provide an increase in energy levels that dip shortly after they spike. After eating these foods, you will experience short bursts of energy, but they will not be sustained, and then you will feel fatigued. Eating healthy foods will keep your energy levels up. Some energy-sustaining healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, whole grain pastas, brown rice, whole grain bread, lean animal-based proteins and plant-based proteins, such as beans and nuts.

Keep Brain Sharp

The nutrition in healthy foods can help maintain healthy brain activity. The Diet Channel website reports healthy eating can keep your brain functioning to its highest potential. According to CNN, eating certain foods can help boost your brain function. Consuming chocolate, grape juice, extra virgin olive oil, apples and spinach have all been shown to help ward off some cognitive decline and improve memory. Keeping your brain sharp and active can make you feel better about your abilities as you age and will help you remain active, which can reduce your chances of experiencing depression.

Self-Esteem

Opting for foods that are healthy and nutritious can give you a sense of control and allow you to feel proud of yourself. Also, making healthy food choices can induce weight loss and losing weight can result in improvements to your appearance. These increases in positive feelings for yourself and improvements in your appearance can result in improvements to your overall self-esteem.

Photo Credits:

  • Oppenheim Bernhard/Digital Vision/Getty Images

This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.