Junk Food, Mood, and You

By: Aarav Khunger


Who doesn’t dream of a chocolate fountain?

I’ve never met a person who hasn’t dreamt of swimming in a pool of chocolate or feasting on the world’s largest cake. Unhealthy foods make many people happy, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But, it's critical that we understand the consequences that come with our indulgences, otherwise the risks may start to add up.

As taught in almost every high school across the nation, junk food can cause many major mental health problems, especially for children and teens who are easily lured by its addictiveness. This endless consumption of unhealthy food can lead to depression, organ failure, and loss of focus, all of which can create even greater pressure on our mental well-being. 


Okay, but how?

If foods like burgers, fries, and pizza (high in fat and excessive calories) are eaten frequently, teens can experience oxidative stress, which tampers with the levels of radicals and antioxidants in the brain.  In simpler terms, the imbalance of chemicals vital to cognitive function may result in serious harm.

Additionally, eating unhealthy food can lead to anxiety. Fast foods are typically high in sodium, so overconsumption may cause a steep rise in blood pressure levels and, perhaps in the future, certain psychiatric disorders. When our oxygen and blood levels are manipulated, our brain can’t process information fast enough, which could harm us. 

So what now?


Where do I begin?!

Eating healthy is definitely not an easy task. It requires determination, focus, and commitment, while also making sure that you have a balanced diet. This means that you should eat a variety of everything: carbs, proteins, lipids, and, yes... fats (I’ll go into that last one in a second)! You want your plates to be vibrant and colorful; as the saying goes, you are what you eat.

When it comes to fats, we need to be careful. While it's okay to eat some here and there, cutting out any excessive fat consumption will make your body feel better... but don’t forget that the body requires fats to function just like it needs carbs and proteins. Instead of eating the bad fats, you should try focusing on the good: avocado, eggs, olive oil, walnuts, and cheese  (otherwise known as monounsaturated fats). Cheese is my personal favorite because it’s easily found and can be consumed alongside many other foods; boiled eggs are also fantastic because they are one of the best sources of protein for repairing and building muscle tissues. A perfect breakfast if you ask me.

Keep in mind, though, that eating is only one part of being healthy. To boost the results and supplement greater health, you should visit the gym at least three times a week. Consulting a gym instructor can help you figure out which routine is best for you—you’ll be surprised by how useful a personal workout regime can be.


The secret is finding the thing that keeps us healthy… and happy.

Sports are a great way to bring our minds to peace. Things like swimming, running, and riding a bicycle can help you burn fat and cholesterol, keeping your body active and your mind off that juicy burger. This can help your metabolism levels rise, returning your mental and physical health back to a state of balance.

Ultimately, by skipping out on a trip to McDonalds, you are helping your mental well-being and creating positive changes in your behaviour, grades, and overall self confidence. If that’s what it takes to lead a better life, then the deal is totally worth it.



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Sources

Malnick. “Fast food slows the brain, new study finds”, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/healthyeating/11306115/Fast-food-slows-the-brain-new-study-finds.html.


“Five ways junk food changes your brain”, https://www.rmit.edu.au/news/all-news/2016/sep/five-ways-junk-food-changes-your-brain.


Pietrangelo, Ann et al.“13 Effects of Fast Food on the Body”, https://www.healthline.com/health/fast-food-effects-on-body.

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