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How Does a Poor Diet Impact Mental Health?

Someone who isn't dealing with common stressors can still feel the pressure, especially if he or she follows a poor diet.

Stressors, also known as the situations and pressures that cause stress, are simple to identify. Major life changes, over exhaustion, financial issues and relationship difficulties are the more common sources. Someone who isn't dealing with these influencers can still develop stress, however, especially if he or she has poor eating habits.

Poor Diet and Heightened Stress Levels
Diet is one of the most ignored, yet controllable, factors of mental wellbeing. According to Helpguide, studies have shown that those who follow the Standard American Diet – a regimen that's loaded with processed meats, packaged meals, sugary snacks and fast food – have a heightened risk of living with stress, anxiety, depression and even bipolar disorder. 

They say you are what you eat, and we believe that holds true. Food doesn't only provide energy for the physical body – it also fuels your mind. The foods you choose to consume interact with the chemicals in your brain, causing a positive or negative effect.

According to the National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability, complex carbohydrates create serotonin, the "feel good" chemical in the brain. Foods that are rich in proteins produce tyrosine, dopamine and norepinephrine, three chemicals that contribute to mental sharpness. Omega-3 fatty acids convert into membrane parts in brain cells, which take charge of many of the processes of the brain. When you follow the SAD diet, you're not fueling your mind with enough of the feel-good foods that keep your stress levels down.

A healthy diet can positively impact mood.A healthy diet can positively impact mood.

Healthy Living Foods to the Rescue
Instead of eating unhealthy foods that negatively impact your mental and physical well-being, why not consider a regimen that prioritizes your overall health? According to the Mental Health Foundation of the U.K., almost two-thirds of the individuals who report eating fresh fruit or fruit juice every day do not live with any mental health issues. Those who reported eating fewer nutritious foods and more unhealthy options were living with some level of mental health problems.

By following the Hallelujah Diet, you'll fuel your body with organic, healthful sustenance from the earth, free of additives, preservatives and refined sugars and grains. Fruits, vegetables, organic whole grains, nuts and seeds will give your body – physical and mental – the energy it needs to perform optimally. It is important, however, to remember that a primarily-raw, plant-based diet isn't the only piece of the puzzle. You need to practice many healthy habits, as Rev. Malkmus shared in his book "The Hallelujah Diet: Experience the Optimal Health You Were Meant to Have":

"Remember that no single good habit will lead to wholeness and good health; a perfect diet without proper exercise will lead to physical problems," he wrote. "It's only a wise balance of all the positive lifestyle changes we've discussed – proper elimination of toxins, fresh air, clean water, regular exercise, sufficient rest and, of course, living foods that will assure you a long and vibrant life."


  1. carolyn b. calhoun May 3, 2017

    GOOD PROPER FOOD is so important to our health. Also helps so much with reducing the stress we confront each day. It’s all about the balance between proper foods, rest and exercise. Excellent blog. Thanks

  2. Jennifer Corson May 4, 2017

    I have seen diet impact mental health in my family. I have a family member who adopted a little boy with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and his diet affects him tremendously.

  3. Angela Solomon May 9, 2017

    This article is so very true. We are what we eat! Having a son that deals daily with stomachaches I am very fimiliar on how food effects our daily lives.

  4. T Black May 9, 2017

    Proper nutrition is so important for not only our physical health, but also our mental health. Whether you are an adult going out into the workforce, a stay at home mom, or a child that spends the greater part of the day in school, our energy level and mental focus truly depend on the foods we feed our body. If you start out the day with a power packed smoothie instead of a bowl of sugary, processed cereal, that will give you a good source of energy that won’t leave you crashing from a sugar high in a couple of hours. I have seen many testimonies regarding children with different issues, such as ADHD, overcoming many, if not all, of their health challenges by making changes in their diet and lifestyle.

  5. Annette May 9, 2017

    I have to agree with my co-worker…Good Proper Food is very important to our bodies… From reading this blog, I believe eating eating healthy with more live foods it helps us to stay healthy. Eating more raw than cooking all our food with killing the enzymes from the food. This would be helpful with getting the kids to eating more live food instead all that process foods and fast food…

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