*Is Your Takeout Food Delivery Habit Hurting Your Mental Health?
The modern world offers us many conveniences. Indoor plumbing and electricity make life far more sanitary and pleasant than what our ancestors had to deal with. Technology allows us to connect with people from around the world. But some of our modern-day conveniences could be harmful to us too. Take for instance takeout food delivery. It is a fantastic service and during the global pandemic lockdowns and social distancing measures, takeout food delivery provided a safe haven for those who are working or learning from home, offering the chance to eat a wider variety of food, without risking unnecessary human contact. However, over-reliance on takeout food for our daily meals or to satisfy our cravings (for comfort food) is not good for our mental and physical health. It can cause or aggravate:
The World Health Organisation (WHO) reported that approximately 280 million people in the world (3.8%) have depression, making it the leading mental disorder worldwide. Depression can, in turn, lead to more stress and anxiety, and worsen the affected person’s life situation and the depression itself. The Journal of Public Health Nutrition revealed that people who ate takeout food were 51% more likely to struggle with depression because what we eat often determines how we feel, both emotionally and physically.
Eating processed or fast food tend to load us up with sugar, saturated fats, and refined carbohydrates that give us an initial high but quickly send our energy and mood plummeting. Pro-longed deficiencies in vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats like Omega-3 have been known to cause mood issues, depression, and fatigue. A study by Cardiff University reported that participants snacking on crisps and chocolate exhibited greater symptoms of depression, fatigue and emotional distress in just 10 days.
Food Addiction (because some food is addictive)
It is not uncommon for people to crave comfort food such as chocolate, French fries, and other foods that are high in calories, sugar, and carbohydrates, especially in times of stress and/or emotional distress. Foods high in sugar, fat, or salt tend to elevate mood by stimulating the brain’s reward system which according to Psychology Today, is the same reward and pleasure system associated with drug addiction. This is the reason why food addiction can be difficult to break and studies have indicated that cutting sugar out of the diet is harder than quitting cigarettes. According to a study by Neuropharmacology, sugar may stimulate the brain’s reward system even more than cocaine and heroin!
How we feel about ourselves is often associated with how we look. There is a tendency for us eat takeout/comfort food in front of the TV or computer. Before we know it, we could have consumed far too many calories that can unintentionally cause weight gain. Weight gain can trigger low self-esteem issues and depression. And depression can also cause weight gain in a vicious cycle.
Hippocrates, the father of medicine, said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” If you want to feel good, inside and out, prepare wholesome and nutritious meals for yourself. It is not as convenient as ordering takeout food but part of taking care of yourself is making healthy everyday choices that you’ll be thankful for in the future.
Are you currently using food to self-medicate stress, anxiety, emotional pain or distress? I would be happy to discuss how I might be able to help.