Your Brain on Food


Colin Hehn, Guest Contributor

Nowadays, even driving down a small town USA road, there’s a fast food joint for every cloud in the sky. We see a Burger King around the corner, a 7/11 across the street, and a dark future straight ahead. Though obesity rates are on the rise, this seems to be a problem spanning further than just the physical attributes of us as a humane society. What we put in our bodies just so happens to affect what goes on in our heads just as much as our stature.

Around two-thirds of those who eat fruit on the daily do not experience any persistent mental health problems, according to the Mental Health Foundation. Mental health problems encompass a large number of issues like anxiety, eating disorders, and depression. A.K.A things you don’t want to have in your everyday life. On top of that, a study by Harvard Medical School revealed that choosing refined sugars rather than natural sugars promotes stress, something that is already much too prevalent in our world today. Prolonged stress is one of the most abundant causes of heart disease, high blood pressure, and personality disorders.

Not only do bad eating habits lead to problems in mental stability, but cognitive function is affected as well. In fact, a study by the University of California Los Angeles proved that students eating a diet with a good amount of Omega-3 Fatty Acids (the good ones that come from fish) performed better in the classroom in comparison to their counterparts. Better test scores and grades because of food? You heard me. Might be better to skip that pint of ice cream before test day. Unless it’s a Halo Top, which in that case maybe this one can slide.

The food available to us today is literally impairing our brain’s complex thinking space and making us more susceptible to irreversible damages to our mental and physical health. In David Zinczenko’s eyes, you can drive down any thoroughfare in America and find an abundance of fast food restaurants but no places to go lean and green as he stated in his article titled, “Don’t Blame The Eater,” which highlights the importance of location in the epidemic of malnutrition. However, the human brain, even if given access to local healthy options, is often drawn to the idea of fast food because of its ease of access and affordability. If we, as a society, wish to push for the future, then we first need to realize the significant damage our food choices cause us beyond just our bodies. After all, thinking is done with your brain, not your body mass.