Every day it becomes more and more clear that modern day food companies are using dangerous farming, preservation, and cooking methods, and these practices are affecting our health. From the hormones in milk to the toxins in meats, companies that provide food products are using any means necessary to circumvent healthy production practices in order to improve their revenue.
This is obviously a serious problem. Men and women across the country are being poisoned by the companies they trust to feed them. Yet another issue related to food safety is the way that it affects mental health – particularly with regards to anxiety and stress.
Food Safety and Anxiety
The reality is that food safety can drastically affect anxiety, and in more ways than simply poisoning the brain and body. The way food is made and processed can have a direct effect on both primary and secondary causes of anxiety, all of which can reduce your quality of life.
For example, we know that modern farming can reduce nutritional intake. A great example of this is with magnesium. Magnesium used to be a primary nutrient in most foods, but modern food processing has essentially eliminated magnesium from most diets. Studies have shown that magnesium deficiency can cause calcium to build up in the brain, leading directly to an increase in stress and anxiety. This is just one example of how nutrient loss as a result of these farming practices is leading to poor anxiety health.
Similarly, the body has a way of converting physical stress into mental stress, and there is no denying that current food production styles lead to physical stress. Your body is constantly fighting away poisons and bacteria within many of the foods you eat every day, and even if they don’t cause any long term damage (which, of course, they might), they still cause your body to work overtime, which also affects your anxiety levels. This is all in addition to the potential effects of some of the chemicals, poisons, and bacteria found in most foods – many of which we’re only just now being brought to light.
Yet these are the physical effects of food health on anxiety. The truth is that there are emotional effects as well – many of which are caused by the growing concern over food safety. These include:
- Phobias – While many foods may be unsafe, not all food is going to be unsafe. Yet because of the constant barrage of reporting on dangerous foods, many people have developed a type of food phobia, fearing certain beneficial foods like meat and some vegetables as a result of these food safety issues. It’s important to be cognizant of food safety, but those that are avoiding potentially healthy foods as a result of their phobias could be missing out on important nutrients.
- Psychosomatic Issues – Food safety issues also cause people to experience some type of either psychosomatic pain or over-sensitization pain. This occurs often when people believe strongly that the food they’re eating may be toxic. As a result of this believe, any discomfort (including natural discomfort such as bloating, or simply the feeling of being full) feels more pronounced. They experience more pain or discomfort than they should normally experience, and as a result attribute that pain to food issues – when it reality it may be nothing more than normal digestion.
- Placebo Treatments/Diagnosis – Food safety issues are also causing many people to self-diagnose. A fantastic example of this is with gluten intolerance, and it relates to the over-sensitization described above. Because of various marketing techniques, they believe that they may have an intolerance. They then eat something with gluten and get full. Feeling full is never a good feeling, but most people ignore it. However, those that believe they may have a gluten intolerance experience the feeling of being full and say to themselves “my stomach hurts, I must be allergic to gluten” and cut it from their diets. Then, when they eat less/healthier as a result, they ignore any discomfort and believe they were correct in their initial assessment.
These are just a few of the ways that issues with food safety have affected the way people react to eating, food, and their own diet – beyond the effects of dangerous foods themselves.
Food Safety and Behaviors
Food safety is a very serious, very real problem in modern society. But what makes it even more problematic is the way people react to it. Food safety and health issues commonly lead to stress and anxiety over food safety, and those anxieties are forcing people into further bad choices with regard to their own diet. Knowledge is going to be the only way to both prevent companies from providing unsafe food and prevent the anxieties from reacting to it. Until that occurs, this issue may only get worse.
About the Author: Ryan Rivera is an anxiety expert that focuses on teaching people how to control their anxieties and panic attacks. He writes articles on these topics at www.calmclinic.com.