How a High-Fat Diet Can Harm Your Mental Health
By Stepy Kamei
Even if you're not exactly an expert on health, you probably know that too much fat in your diet can only lead to negative health consequences. Not only is this true, but it might be far worse than you realized. Weight gain, high blood pressure, and heart disease are all conditions that are commonly associated with a high-fat diet. However, recent research is suggesting that a high-fat diet can also have an impact on a surprising aspect of a person's well-being -- specifically, their mental health. Keep on reading to learn more about how your mental health can suffer from poor eating habits -- and what you can do to change that!
Depression Linked to Saturated Fat Consumption
More than a few studies have confirmed that there is a definite link between a high-fat diet and likelihood of developing depression. Obesity-related depression is now being noticed more and more by scientists and nutritionists as they study the many adverse affects of weight gain due to a poor diet, often consisting of high amounts of saturated fats. As many people know, a diet that's high in saturated fats is a diet that can lead to weight gain and obesity, fast. The confusing aspect is that, while some fats are healthy, some aren't. Saturated fats are the unhealthy fats that provide no nutritional value, unlike the much healthier unsaturated fats found in foods such as nuts and avocados. Fast food and highly processed foods are often loaded with saturated fats.
How the Brain is Affected
How exactly does saturated fat affect a person's mood? Interestingly, it may have to do with a certain chemical released in the brain. A high intake of saturated fats can increase the amount of palmitic acid in the hypothalamus region of the brain. In simpler terms, high levels of this particular acid in the brain have been scientifically linked to altered states of mood, thanks to its ability to manipulate of the amount of dopamine (the "happy" chemical) released by the brain.
An Unhealthy Cycle
Unfortunately, poor eating habits are often so easy to fall and stay into, since the brain truly starts to crave and even becomes addicted to saturated fats. This type of food regularly induces depression, and a common way many of us cope with a low mood is by eating comfort foods, which are -- you guessed it -- high in saturated fats. In this way, an unhealthy cycle repeats itself.
This is why it's so crucial to focus on adding healthier, wholesome foods into your diet. It's an important and even necessary way to take care of every aspect of your health. Consult with a nutritionist if you feel you need help getting started.
To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Tampa, Fla.