Never miss a great news story!
Get instant notifications from Economic Times
AllowNot now

You can switch off notifications anytime using browser settings.
Stock Analysis, IPO, Mutual Funds, Bonds & More

Munch your way to happiness: Eat leafy greens, nuts & lean meat

Episodes of stress can push you to reach for unhealthy food.

, ET Bureau|
May 14, 2019, 09.09 AM IST
Getty Images
happy & healthy
Your choice of foods has an impact on your mood and thereby your productivity and health, writes Saliha Nasline.

Food doesn’t just impact your body, but your mind too. Making healthier choices in your diet will not only help control your waistline and boost your energy, but will also help lift your mood and make you better focused.

“The kind of food we consume has a direct impact on our body and mind,” said Anjali Kanojia, psychologist at online healthcare company Lybrate. “Food can bring about changes in our brain structure and physiology and, in turn, our mood and behaviour. Foods rich in magnesium, zinc and amino acids such as L-theanine reduce anxiety. Omega-3s alter brain chemicals and neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin (which makes you feel good). When consumed in the correct manner, food can stimulate good mood and have a positive influence on health.”

healthy diet

Alpa Momaya, senior nutritionist at digital fitness platform HealthifyMe, echoed this.
“Brain chemicals called neurotransmitters are responsible for good mood, happiness as well as food cravings,” Momaya said. “The deficiency in these neurotransmitters can lead to conditions like depression, anger, anxiety, sleeplessness and mood swings. The type of food we eat helps in the production of these neurotransmitters.”

Calorie-dense, sugary and starchy food also rich in trans fats that offer very little nutritional value interferes with the bodily functions and adversely affects blood sugar levels as well. This then results in a sudden spike in blood sugar followed by an intense crash that causes anger, fatigue and irritability, said Dishaa Desai, psychologist and outreach associate, Mpower-The Centre, a mental health care provider.

Consistent cyclical moods of anger—highs and lows—can result in creating an environment that exacerbates the preexisting symptoms of depression and anxiety or in forming an environment that serves as a trigger, she said.

Striking A Balance
A balanced diet consisting of whole foods—instead of refined foods, sweets and fried food—can provide all the nutritional requirements such as vitamins, proteins and minerals like selenium and zinc. Unsaturated fatty acids and antioxidants can help maintain a good mood and prevent depressed mood states. They can also help people suffering from depressive episodes along with medication in achieving symptom-free states, said Dr Venkatesh Babu, consultant psychiatrist, Fortis Hospital, Bengaluru.

stress eating 1

Stress And Food
There is a connection between stress and food with short-term and long-term implications. In the short term, stress can suppress one’s appetite as a result of the corticotropin-releasing hormone and epinephrine that trigger the fight-or-flight response that puts eating on hold.

In the long term, when individuals undergo a consistently stressful time in their lives, it becomes almost second nature for them to turn to food for temporary comfort.

“From the biological perspective, the cortisol hormone, that is released when stressed, plays a role in increasing the urge to eat,” Mpower’s Desai said. “Psychologically, food has always played a role in instant gratification, which ends up becoming a cyclical process and a long-term pattern.”

Make Notes, Eat Healthy & Exercise Daily: 7 Ways To Fight Depression

of 8
Play Slideshow

Combat Depression

10 Oct, 2018
Stress and frustration can lead to depression, further affecting mental health. While it is imperative to consult with a medical professional if symptoms of depression are noticed, certain modification in one's lifestyle can help in combatting mild depression. However, moderate to severe depression requires the treatment with medications. Nevertheless lifestyle changes do help in recovering as well as preventing the condition and future episodes. Dr Pallavi Aravind Joshi, Consultant Psychiatrist of Columbia Asia Hospital Whitefield (Bengaluru) shares 7 tips to combat depression.

Episodes of stress can push us to reach for unhealthy food. “There is evidence from research to show the increase in cravings for sugary or fatty foods during periods of distress,” Desai added.

This means that addressing stress is crucial for your health for more reasons than one.
Want stories like this in your inbox? Sign up for the daily ET Panache newsletter.

You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Also Read

Men can also get osteoporosis; have nuts, dairy products, veggies to reduce bone loss

World Vegan Day: Mastercard top boss practises veganism; salad, fruits and nut bars keeps him going

Eating nuts, pulses, broccoli can reduce risk of preeclampsia in pregnant women

GREY Group boss never starves, says she carries nuts & energy bars to cover up for missed meals

Add Your Comments
Commenting feature is disabled in your country/region.
Download The Economic Times Business News App for the Latest News in Business, Sensex, Stock Market Updates & More.

Other useful Links

Follow us on

Download et app

Copyright © 2019 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All rights reserved. For reprint rights: Times Syndication Service