How does diet affect your mood?
Diet does make an important component of mental health. According to Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School, a dietary pattern characterised by a high intake of fruit, vegetables, whole grain, fish, olive oil, low-fat dairy and antioxidants and low intake of animal foods has been associated with a decreased risk of depression. On the other hand, a dietary pattern characterised by a high consumption of red meat, refined grains, sweets, high-fat dairy products, et al has been associated with an increased risk of depression.
What does science say?
Eating too many sugary foods or high-fat foods can be super addictive; according to a study published in the Nature Neuroscience, eating such foods can trigger the release of dopamine, a feel-good neurotransmitter in the brain. So, the more such foods you eat, brain starts getting addicted to them, making you crave for more. It becomes a cycle and a trap for your brain. When you are sad, you tend to start eating more of these junk foods and make yourself feel better.
You tend to use food to self-medicate, which may help improve or avoid negative or uncomfortable feelings. This makes you overeat and gain weight. Another reason to reach out to these foods is that they also increase the levels of serotonin, a brain chemical that elevates moods. This helps you feel calmer and relaxed.
So if you are sad or low, make sure that you don't pick up convenient options for yourself knowing they can harm you in many ways. Make sure someone is accompanying you; someone who can divert your mind from eating too much. In case of excessive emotional eating, do not shy away from visiting a psychiatrist or concerned expert.