I was lucky enough this summer to get to talk with some at risk youth at The Covenant House in Toronto about basic nutrition and how food affects your mood. I was so happy to be able to share some information with them, hoping that every little bit of exposure to simple healthy ideas is helpful. I came across some really relevant and interesting studies on how food effects your mood and I wanted to share them here as well. In my Naturopathic practice in Toronto, I see so many stressed out and anxious people. I don't think that food is the only cure, but I think that it's one important piece of the puzzle. Unfortunately, the more anxious or depressed or stressed out a person is, the more likely they're going to go for a less healthy option. It takes time & motivation to plan meals, cook, and go to the grocery store!
One of my favourite studies that I came across (but lost the reference for!) showed an increase in anxiety & depression in teenagers after just one week of eating a higher fast food and higher sugar diet.
A 2002 study from Penn State University linked a consumption of excess calories, saturated fat, and sodium to a negative mood two days later.
A 2013 study in the British Journal of Health Psychology correlated eating fruits & vegetables with being in a positive mood the next day.
A 2014 meta-analysis in the American Journal of Public Health showed a relationship between a good quality diet and better mental health in kids.
A 2016 study in the Nutrition Journal suggests that the consumption of energy drinks had a detrimental effect on mood, sleep, and suicidal thoughts in teens.
A 2017 study in the journal Pediatrics showed a higher prevalence of ADHD in kids who had fast food, sugar, and pop.
There are a million more studies on this topic, but I just wanted to drive the point home with a few that it is IMPERATIVE for those who struggle with mental health issues to try your best to eat a healthy balanced diet.