What are the foods that most affect your mental health?

Maintaining a healthy diet can be a difficult task. Difficulties in cooking, price differences between foods and the ease of finding ultra-processed foods in commerce, can make the latter the favorite option for the routine.

But that does not mean that they are necessarily the best alternative. In fact, they rarely are.

Numerous scientific studies have warned about the consequences that these products have on our health, but a recent investigation by the imperial college london went one step further: according to academics, its consumption can considerably increase the risk of brain and ovarian cancer.

Junk food. Photo: referential.

The authors defined ultra-processed foods as foods with a high percentage of salt, sugar, fat and additives, which provide little nutritional value for the body.

Under this premise, they saw that by increasing the consumption of these products in a person’s diet by 10%, the chances of facing cancer rose by 2%.

“Human beings have been processing food, pickling vegetables, brewing beer and smoking meat for thousands of years. Very recently, food has become something bulky, ”he warned The Sun Eleanor Bryant, a psychologist specializing in health and eating behavior at the University of Bradford, “in general, ultra-processed foods tend to look for flavor and that tends to be detrimental to nutrition.”

In the same way, he declared that “it is difficult to find a really healthy one that has gone through so many processes to reach the final points”, in addition to emphasizing that “there is evidence that physical and mental health are affected”.

In the midst of a scenario where they are common on supermarket shelves and in shopping mall food courts, the expert analyzed a series of products according to four categories, in order to detail the effects of each one on your health.

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Meal. Photo: TofuBud.

This was his division: natural, processed, ultra-processed and “barely” there are benefits.

According to Bryant, tomatoes are rich in lycopene, a type of organic pigment that helps prevent cancer and heart disease, as well as supplying vitamins C and K.

Likewise, lemon is known for being a citrus fruit with high amounts of vitamin C, which makes it easier for the body to defend itself against colds and flu.

In the field of meat, some such as pork can be useful as a source of protein, in addition to providing iron and zinc, while others such as chicken are beneficial for brain function, increase serotonin and have lower percentages. of fat, a key factor for heart care.

Pollo. Foto: Flick of Whisk.

On the other hand, cheese has high amounts of calcium and vitamin A, which favors skin care as long as its consumption is not excessive, since this dairy is also high in fat and sodium.

The academic explained that vegetables such as potatoes are rich in fiber and facilitate digestion, contributions that are added to others such as potassium, a useful element for the functioning of the nervous system and the heart.

The Bradford specialist’s analysis detailed that, among those processed, are homemade sausages, that is, skinless and handmade, which, despite being high in salt and fat, can have anti-inflammatory properties if seasoned. with sage and thyme.

A similar case occurs with homemade breaded chicken, which if prepared with flour, egg, breadcrumbs, and minimal amounts of oil, acquires less harmful characteristics than its ultra-processed version.

That also happens with homemade hamburgers. According to her, if they are cooked on the grill and with low-fat minced meat, they can be a great option to enjoy their flavor without suffering from the same effects as those from other places.

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This is when we turn to the category of ultra-processed foods, which tend to cause more damage to the body than natural foods or those that go through fewer processes.

For example, a large part of chicken nuggets are made with only 50% breast of this animal, so the other half is filled with elements such as maltodextrin, a substance that, although it may be lower in calories compared to others, it is not chicken as such.

As for microwave burgers, some companies typically list more than 62 different ingredients—not all of them conspicuously identifiable, of course—including amounts of salt that meet half of the nutritionist recommended daily intake.

Junk food. Photo: Tim Samuel / Pexels.

And if we talk about packaged potato chips, those that come in plastic bags and tubes tend to lose nutritional components —such as part of their potassium— when they are dehydrated. Furthermore, the yellowish color and crunchy textures are the result of added colourings.

The last category Bryant listed to The Sun refers to such products that offer little or no benefit to your body, nutritionally speaking.

Here are various sweets and energy drinks available in the market. While some people use the latter to stay awake on an afternoon at work or a night out, they are often packed with artificial ingredients and caffeine, which could directly affect both your heart rate and your mental health.

The cola ones also share the excess of caffeine and dyes. And while they sometimes have lower-calorie versions, that doesn’t automatically mean they’re healthy.

Some of them even have a small amount of phosphoric acid, which has corrosive properties and, unsurprisingly, is unfavorable for your medical well-being.

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Drink. Photo: Coffee Affection.

It should be noted that it is always advisable to visit a nutritionist or specialized doctor to find out what foods you can or cannot consume in your diet.

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