Is Processed Food Affecting Your Mental Health?

Katie LairdPsychotherapy

Over 2000 years ago, Hippocrates said “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Processed foods can not only lead to an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, increased blood pressure, and more, it can also have a significant impact on your mental health.

It’s estimated that almost half of the average Canadian’s diet comes from heavily processed food. Processed foods have been chemically altered with artificial flavors, additives, and other ingredients. Most nutrients are destroyed or removed in heavily processed foods.

“There appears to be a bi-directional link between mental illness and poor diet,” notes Dr. Jennifer Swainson, a general adult psychiatrist at Misericordia Community Hospital in Edmonton, Alberta. “There are studies that suggest a diet high in processed food and sugars can lead to increased risk of developing depression, and it has been shown that people with depression who eat a healthier diet can experience an improvement in their symptoms. At the same time, we know that people with mental illnesses such as depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia are at increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.”