Chow down, Huskies! Healthy Huskies on conscious eating

Natalie Wittman, Healthy Huskies

The term “hangry” gets thrown around a lot in our daily conversations, but did you know that the food you eat can affect your mood? The food choices you make each day can be the deciding factor for how you will feel.

     The opposite is true too. If you are feeling crappy, you are more likely to reach for a bag of chips and cookies than a piece of fruit or vegetables. Junk food can improve our mood but only briefly.

          Improved mood will only last for a short period of time until we feel sick or sluggish from eating it and then we will feel crappy again.
     According to the American Heart Association, foods high in fat and sugar have been found to increase the risk of anxiety and depression. If you are feeling stressed about an exam, you may treat yourself to a cheeseburger, French fries, and ice cream. While they may taste good every once in a while, it is important to limit these “cheat” days.

   If you continuously eat a diet high in fat and sugar, you body will adapt to this new pattern of eating and think it is normal. It will eventually be hard to break this habit.

         Eating an apple may taste good, but now your system is thrown off because it was used to high fat and sugar foods. You may not feel well which could, in turn, increase anxiety or depression. This is a cycle that is difficult to break.

     Be mindful of the fuel you put into your body. Research has shown that diets high in fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains protect against depression.

  This means that healthy foods help stimulate positive emotions. If you are happy, you may be more inclined to make healthy food choices rather than eat junkfood.

     Below is a list of some foods that the American Heart Association has found to be great mood boosters. Check them out and stock up on some for your residence hall room or apartment!

   This list includes fruits and vegetables, which  are linked to higher levels of happines; omega-3 fatty acids in fish and nuts is correlated with a lower risk of depression and impulsivity; and dark chocolate has been found to improve mood and reduce tension.

    Remember to eat any of these food choices in moderation. Feeling bloated and stuffed from overeating can make you feel unhappy, too.

Keep an eye out for the Husky PAWS every Wednesday at their Wellness Wednesday events!

For more information on health and wellness issues that affect college students, contact Kristi Hammaker, BU Health and Wellness Educator, at [email protected]