How to have a healthy relationship with food?

Having a healthy relationship with food goes far beyond just choosing foods that are good for your health, such as natural and nutritious ones. This also involves social and affective aspects with the act of eating.

And taking care of this is fundamental for the whole body to be benefited in this fundamental moment for life: food.


What is a healthy relationship with food?

A healthy relationship with food is characterized by the understanding that there are no good or bad foods and that food depends on the context in which it is inserted. In addition, in general, the person sees food for what it is, and not for its nutritional value.

The human being does not eat only to survive. The relationship we have with food is permeated with affections, having a high social significance. This means that, often, food takes place in a social context, and not in terms of survival.

This becomes clear when we think of events such as Sunday lunch with the family, going out for a romantic dinner, inviting a friend over coffee, birthday parties, barbecues, among other social occasions in which food is a central part of the event.

Therefore, the relationship that human beings create with food is not a relationship of pure and simple survival.

However, we also live in a society in which the standard of beauty is based on a slim body.

The consequence of this is that a large part of people are overly concerned with the nutritional values ​​of food, forgetting to enjoy the moment of the meal, whether alone or surrounded by other loved ones.

To achieve the desired body, diets with great restrictions are often proposed, which leads the person to establish a complicated relationship with food – he can no longer eat without counting the calories, avoids certain social events or, if he participates, takes his own meal , between others.

Certain foods come to be seen as enemies that must be avoided at all costs, while others are deified as if they were able to supply all the nutrients necessary to survive.

For example, the problem with the cake is not the cake itself, but in what context it is eaten. If it was at a birthday party, it would be strange to have only fruits and vegetables. Now, at lunchtime every day, eating a slice of cake daily is not very healthy.

It is not necessary to go very deep to see that worrying too much about what is being eaten, regardless of context, indicates a totally dysfunctional relationship with food.

The key to a healthy relationship with food is to understand that an adequate diet is based on balance and diversity, eliminating the idea of ​​“good” or “bad” foods, as well as eating in a manner consistent with the social and social context. cultural.

What is the importance of good nutrition?

A good diet is important for several reasons, among them, physical and mental health. Eating adequate amounts of carbohydrates , proteins , vitamins and minerals daily is important for the proper functioning of the body.

Food influences everything: from the appearance of the skin, the willingness to endure the routine, even the mood. The lack of glucose in the blood, for example, can make people irritable, which is very evident in that very bad morning mood before breakfast.

In addition, the synthesis of certain compounds in our body depends on the nutrients that are absorbed from the diet.

The serotonin , for example, is a major neurotransmitter in mood regulation (one of the main neurotransmitter used to combat depression ), and most part is synthesized in the intestine.

An intestine with an unhealthy microbiota, for example, can produce little serotonin or change the quality of the serotonin produced, which helps to maintain depressive symptoms.

In short, the organism as a whole depends on good nutrition to function properly. Therefore, it is important to follow healthy eating habits that provide the necessary amounts of nutrients that the body needs.

It is worth remembering, however, that these quantities vary from person to person. No organism is the same as another. Factors such as metabolism, weight, proportion of fat and muscle, for example, influence what would be an adequate diet for each person.

Therefore, when seeking to maintain a good diet, it is recommended to go to the nutritionist, so that a balanced diet based on individual needs is indicated.

What are the psychological problems related to food?

In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), there are psychiatric disorders classified as eating disorders . These are mental disorders that affect the person’s behavior in relation to their own diet. They are:


The anorexia is characterized by a preoccupation with weight, which causes the person ceases to feed for days or even weeks, in order to maintain a slim body. Often, anorexia leads to serious health problems, such as malnutrition.


The Bulimia is another eating disorder present in DSM. In this disorder, the person feels guilty after eating – especially after eating foods considered “bad”, such as sweets, cakes, among others – and seeks to eliminate what was eaten, causing vomiting or even using laxatives.

Food compulsion

Another disorder present in the DSM is binge eating , characterized by episodes in which the individual eats much more than necessary. In general, binge eating is related to a dysfunctional relationship with food.

What is the impact on physical, mental and social health that the bad relationship with food can bring?

A bad relationship with food can cause a lot of damage to the individual. First, physical health can suffer a lot, given that the lack of adequate nutrients or too much food can cause serious problems.

The mental health can also be affected. This is because an adequate diet is very important to combat symptoms of various mental disorders, such as depression and anxiety .

When it comes to social, a bad relationship with food can significantly affect it too. This is because many of the social activities involve eating, such as family lunches, romantic dinners, barbecues, colonial cafes, among others.

People who have a bad relationship with food may end up not participating in these activities, or taking their own food, which can be frowned upon by others in these contexts.

How do I know if I have a problem with food?

Some signs that you may be suffering from a problem in your relationship with food are:

  • Inadequate food with context, such as eating a tray of sweets at lunch instead of a full meal;
  • Feeling guilty after eating foods you like;
  • Consuming too much of a particular food;
  • Having difficulty varying foods on a daily basis;
  • Worrying too much about nutrients;
  • Try to eliminate what was eaten after eating;
  • Being overly concerned with weight, counting the calories ingested to try to spend them after eating.

If you suspect that you have a food-related problem, be sure to contact a trusted health professional for an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment.

Betting on a healthy relationship with food is a way of taking care of health in general, both physical and mental. But this is not always easy, as there are a number of complex relationships intertwined.

Therefore, having information regarding what is a good dietary practice, and knowing when it is necessary to seek help, is indispensable. The Healthy Minute helps you with information and tips to take care of you!