As the saying goes, you are what you eat. It turns out that this common phrase runs true when reflecting on what foods boost your mood. Choosing healthy foods like fruits and vegetables is beneficial for physical health, and research reveals that it is excellent for mental health, too. Former Miss Kemah Teen USA, Bryn Carden, embraces a healthy lifestyle and is passionate about spreading the good news that comes with healthy food selections. She dives deeper into healthy eating and reveals how good food leads to a good mood.
Benefits of Eating Well
When humans incorporate healthier options into their daily diet, they will reap a list of benefits both physically and mentally. Healthy foods can speed up metabolism and burning fat, especially with a regular exercise routine. But what about mental wellbeing?
During the global pandemic, depression rates skyrocketed. The World Health Organization stated that the COVID-19 pandemic triggered anxiety and depression worldwide, raising average rates by twenty-five percent. Depression is deemed a disease of the brain, passed on genetically and sparked by life events. The benefits healthy foods give towards enhancing mood significantly attribute to how depression is approached. In opposition, unhealthy foods that are processed and refined, high in sugar and trans fats, inflate the risk for depression. Now, individuals dealing with depression are referred to not only a therapist but also a nutritionist.
Besides escalating mood, eating foods that serve as prime fuel for the body also contributes to life’s longevity.
Theories on How Fresh Food Boosts Mood
Many studies supply reasoning behind the connection between fresh foods and mood regulation. In one study, researchers explored how healthy food choices result in happy moods by collecting evidence from real-life sampling using smartphone-based assessments. During this study published through the National Library of Medicine, scientists focused on food choices like fruits and vegetables to test against the notion that high-caloric foods created to taste better alleviate a negative mood by inducing happiness when consumed.
From their findings, researchers discovered three main points:
- Consuming vegetables resulted in the largest share of eating happiness when measured over eight days compared to the other fourteen main food categories.
- The average sweet treat induces eating happiness comparable to fruits and vegetables.
- Dinner and snacking induced similar measurable levels of eating pleasure.
Other research suggests that higher levels of pigments called carotenoids, present in certain produce like carrots, are connected to elevating feelings of optimism. Also, consuming increased vitamin B12 can aid in mood regulation due to boosting serotonin, a neurotransmitter in the brain. Vitamin B12 is found in many fruits and veggies.
Simple Ways to Incorporate More Produce into Your Diet
Including more fruits and vegetables into a diet might sound devastating to those who prefer the taste of processed foods over produce options. However, the fusion is not limited to consuming raw veggies and fruits. There are many simple ways to slide healthy food choices into meal prep or snack time. When first making the change, exploring different unfamiliar produce options is good to find flavors that go along with preferring taste buds. Then, make minor adjustments, like choosing ranch and carrots over a bag of potato chips or adding vegetables to a casserole dish.
About Bryn Carden
Bryn Carden is a young entrepreneur and philanthropist with a passion for real estate and design. She is currently studying at Neeley School of Business, pursuing a major in Finance with a Real Estate Concentration. Besides working towards her degree, she has already begun her entrepreneurial journey as a co-founder of BF Hats and a creator of Styles for Smiles – a company selling bracelets to help fund cleft palate operations for children in developing countries.