I offer nutritional therapy for depression, so I know a lot about the effects of food on mental health. My own diet is generally balanced, varied and colourful. But it definitely also has the odd bit of chocolate, cake or take-away here and there. Food has got to be nourishing and joyful at the same time!
But I guess it’s been so long since I’ve last had a day almost entirely filled with unhealthy foods that I’ve forgotten just how quickly you can end up feeling ill. Because wow, I really did feel ill by the end of the day!
How just one day of poor eating can leave you feeling ill
Have you noticed a connection between what you eat and how you feel yet?
Back in July we went camping with our daughter for one day, and we had lots of the foods you’d typically associate with camping. There were fruit juices, marshmallows, jelly, sweets, chocolate, crisps and cider.
I had them all. Plus the take-away of fish and chips that night.
Come mid-afternoon I felt ill. I didn’t feel sick or like I had simply eaten too much.
Above all, I was just SO tired. This real crashing fatigue came over me and it was hard to keep my eyes open or to participate in conversation. Do you know the feeling?
But this tiredness wasn’t just physical. I felt it mentally as well. As if I’ve had a big software crash and had to reboot, only the reboot wasn’t going too well.
I was mentally drained and just wanted to be on my own. I slept for about 10 hours that night, but spend the next morning feeling incredibly irritable.
And having been very aware of my feelings and thoughts for quite a few years now, I know that there wasn’t something that was actually irritating me. It was simply an emotion that was there. Clearly triggered within my body in response to what I was eating and drinking the previous day.
Your diet affects you in more ways than you think - nutritional therapy for depression & anxiety
This one day of feeling ill in response to my poor diet was a good reminder for me. It reminded me why nutritional therapy makes a huge difference to mental health, depression and anxiety.
And it served as a great motivator for me to stay away from eating too many of these “empty calorie” foods : foods that provide nothing in terms of nutrients. Foods that send you on the blood sugar roller coaster.
So if you are suffering from fatigue, low mood, irritability but also anxiety and feeling “wired all the time”, then do know there is so much you can do through diet.
What I experienced on my camping trip was largely down to blood sugar crashes and I have written posts and spoken about this topic before. For example, listen to Episode 7 on mental health nutrition and to Episode 5 on blood sugar imbalances and the link to depression and anxiety.
Download my cheat sheet for the top 14 anti-depressant nutrients
Foods play a crucial role for your mood in many ways, one of them being the nutrients that are important for your brain and neurotransmitters.
Download my free cheat sheet to discover the top 12 anti-depressant nutrients and the foods to find those in!
You’ll get a super quick and good idea on the kinds of food we should all ideally be eating for better mental health.