As students we have all been branded with the stereotypical reputation of eating unfathomable amounts of baked beans, pasta and pot noodles or ordering endless takeaways to fulfil our hunger cravings and to maintain the classic cycle of our lazy, ignorant student lifestyles. Albeit, I am aware that these traits are in fact reality for many people reading this article; however, we need to realise that following a healthy diet has unbelievable positive benefits on both our mental health and our academic performance, highlighting the importance to adapt our eating habits for the better.
The healthier our diets are the more likely we are to lose weight, gaining both increased body confidence and a stronger desire to do more exercise. Many studies have proven that a healthy diet alongside regular exercise increases energy levels, allowing optimal attentiveness levels to be reached, an increase in focus and an overall improvement to academic performance. Furthermore, students become more productive and may even experience improvements in their memory – undoubtedly useful when revising for exams. Healthy eating can also improve sleep patterns, increasing the amount we sleep and therefore amplifying the overall effects of improved diet. Moreover, having regular sleep routines and sleeping for the optimal number of hours, between 7-9 hours, also improve mental health as the body is functioning in a consistent schedule, eliminating irregularity and thus resulting in better moods.
Eating healthily has also been proven to minimise mental health problems, which are especially common within the student population. In one study, Professor Almudena Sanchez-Villegas claimed that trans-fat (a type of unsaturated fat that is considered the worst type of fat to consume) caused inflammation of neurotransmitters that are essential for mood regulation, resulting in fluctuation of moods and an increase in negative emotions. Therefore, by reducing or cutting out the amount of processed food within their diet, students have the power to reduce their risk of depression and maintain a healthier life. Additionally, experiencing better moods contributes to better academic performances as students have higher levels of motivation and are more determined to meet deadlines and succeed at university.
Eating healthily has been proven to minimise mental health problems
In essence, eating healthily as a student possesses a plethora of health benefits, both mentally and physically; as a result everyone should consider adapting their current diet, as even just small changes, such as eating less pasta and more vegetables or buying fruit instead of crisps, can have positive effects academically and in terms of general health in both the short and long term. However, it is best not to ban items of food from your diet completely as temptation increases when you are forbidden to eat something and so you may find yourself eating more of what you shouldn’t. Also, treating yourself to some chocolate or similar treats can temporarily boost your mood and reduce the likelihood of depression, showing that small amounts of unhealthier foods can be beneficial in a well-balanced diet.
Last modified: 25th February 2020