We are all aware of the disruptive effects junk food etc. can have on children, but we too often forget that food affects the moods of adults too. Although our genetics provides a blue print of how we may develop, it is the food we eat which ultimately determines our strength, size, short and long term health.
It could be argued that every meal you eat affects you in either a positive or negative way. For many people with known food allergies, this is an obvious statement, but it is thought that many people suffer reactions to food, which in turn affect their mental state without even realising.
When children over indulge in sweets and soft drinks, there is often an almost immediate change in their behaviour. They can become aggressive, demanding and throw tantrums. In schools where soft drinks and confectionery have been banned, teachers have said that their pupils show signs of improved concentration are better behaved and much easier to manage.
As adults we believe that we are rational enough to overcome the affects food may have on our emotions, and therefore are unaffected by what we eat and drink (with the exception of alcohol maybe!).
But are we right to think that? If you get stressed in the afternoon, or argue with your partner in the evening, could other factors be at work? Could the food you have eaten cause a change in mood, increase anxiety and even aggression? One fact is certain, when blood sugar levels fall we become more aggressive, stressed and agitated. The brain starts to take control to try to get more food. Suddenly the most important thing for the human body to survive is to get sugar and this prompts the brain to release adrenaline which generally results in a person becoming hyper or angry. In nature the new energy from adrenaline will lead to a hunt but today we just argue and get stressed.
This is why we believe that a healthy diet is important for short-term mental health as well as long term physical health. For now we will just cover what we believe is important for good health as far as diet and nutrition is concerned.
But it is worth bearing in mind that the food you eat may be one of the causes of stress or anxiety in your life. So a change of diet, as well as increased physical activity may help you become a more tranquil person.
Originally posted on 5th August 2006.