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  • Isara Moriya

Mindfull X Shield - The Psychology of Food

Food is a major factor in the quality of social, physical, mental, and emotional life. Therefore, your relationship with food creates a domino effect in other aspects of life. It affects a person’s mood, gut biome, appetite, and mental health, just to name a few. Food provides both emotional and physical nourishment, and it is a necessity to feed both desires.

Everyone has a unique relationship with food. Some never struggle with food and are in tune with their hunger cues and cravings. But others need more relationships with food to varying degrees. For some, food may be a coping mechanism in hardship, an utter fear, or another burden in life. Whatever your starting point may be, it is worthwhile to educate yourself on food, a daily necessity and a factor in quality of life.

Nutritional psychiatry studies the connection between food and cognitive activity. It’s a known fact that the brain functions optimally with nutrition-dense foods. Other aspects it affect our gut health, prevention of chronic illnesses, and appetite control.

Foods that benefit our mood and brain health are called “feel-good foods” or “brain foods.” Feel-good foods can be divided into categories.

  • Fruits and Vegetables

Nutrients in fruits and vegetables naturally increase cognitive growth and functioning. Purple and blue foods are especially beneficial for cognition and mood. However, they are often the most neglected group of colored foods. Consuming more blueberries, eggplants, purple grapes, and ube, just to name a few, is beneficial to physical as well as mental health.

  • Nuts

Nuts contain anti-aging properties, helping retain memory and cognitive sharpness—a study observing nuts’ abilities on the elderly and their cognition. The study concluded the elderly who consumed at least five servings of nuts in a week had better results. Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are the key to heart health and the autoimmune system.

  • Seafood and Eggs

Seafood and eggs, like nuts, contain PUFAs and other favorable nutrients. Seafood contains different types of PUFAs such as omega-3 fatty acids. Studies have shown that consuming seafood and eggs during early childhood leads to higher neurodevelopment, primarily from PUFA’s effects.

These feel-good foods improve health in various ways. Below are five benefits feel-good-foods invite.

  • Contribute to cognitive development

  • Enhance immunity

  • Increase energy

  • Regulate emotions

  • Reduce anxiety and depression

As mentioned before, food isn’t just for physical nourishment; you have to satisfy the emotional hunger as well. Therefore, not every day has to be packed with feel-good- foods. Becoming a flexible and varied eater is an essential part of a good quality of life. The burden of conforming to arbitrary rules and limiting food types can lead to mental disorders such as depression and anorexia nervosa. Unfortunately, allergies, dietary restrictions, health concerns, and food aversions make it difficult to incorporate all foods into one’s diet. Therefore, formulate a diet that works uniquely for you. Aiming for variety is important, but take it slow, and don’t feel guilty about your diet. Enjoy your food, first and foremost, and hone in on an interest in food. Food should ultimately make you feel good.

Writer: Isara Moriya




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