Nutritional psychology is an emerging field that seeks to understand how the food we eat affects our mental well being. It is a subfield of health psychology and can be applied to a number of fields like marketing, dietetics, and psychology.
Whether we realize it or not, the food we eat affects our behavior and state of mind. Eat a fast food meal and you’re likely to feel tired and sluggish. On the flip side, eat a meal full of healthy whole foods are you’re probably going to feel nourished and energized. The bottom line is that food is like fuel for our body. The better the quality of the fuel, the better our body can function.
With the number of Americans considered obese only growing, the need to understand what drives food choices is gaining importance. The food we eat affects our behavior, mood, sleep, energy levels, inflammation, and cognition. Nutrition psychology adds another perspective to integrated medicine, which is a holistic approach to healthcare. This field considers mental health and well being in the context of nutrition.
Check out the documentary film Super Size Me to learn more about how the food we eat affects our mental health.