You probably already know that emotions can affect your eating habits, but did you know that your eating habits can dramatically influence your mental health? According to a 2015 study by Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, 6.7% of the population over 18 years old have been diagnosed with clinical depression while 18% of the general population are suffering from some kind of anxiety disorder.
You do not have to be formally diagnosed to understand what an overpowering burden it can be when you are anxious or depressed. And while these two conditions are not mutually inclusive of each other, we are going to focus on them together since all of us can pretty much relate to how anxiety and depression can bear us down.
While there are a lot of causes for each situation, the good news is that the foods we eat play a major role when it comes to the frequency, intensity and duration of bouts of anxiety and depression, particularly if we are already predisposed to having theses conditions. The best thing you can do is to make yourself knowledgeable with some of the foods that have been repeatedly linked with impairing your psyche— and immediately minimize your consumption of them. Below is a list of foods and ingredients that can expedite your downward spiral.
According to a 2015 study involving postmenopausal women, an increase in added sugar in their diet was linked to an increased likelihood of depression. In the past, scientists were confused why diabetes, depression and dementia seemed to go together in epidemiological studies or why having one of these ailments increases your risk for the others. But in a study published on the Journal of Diabetologia, scientists have found that elevated levels of blood glucose causes a drop of levels of a protein that promotes the growth of synapses and neurons. In less scientific terms, the simple act of consuming sugar causes your brain to work at sub-optimal levels. Scientists have also added that the more you consume sugar, the higher the risk of developing depression, diabetes and dementia.
3) Artificial Sweeteners
If you think that artificial sweeteners will satisfy your sweet tooth without elevating your risk of depression, think again. Aspartame, the main ingredient in artificial sweeteners and diet sodas, hinders the production of the neurotransmitter serotonin. This can result in all manner of neuro maladies including insomnia, headaches, mood swings and depression.
To put it lightly, your central nervous system is very important. It is the one responsible for gathering all kinds of information via the five senses. In other words, we are able to think, understand, reason and control our motor skills because of our central nervous system. If you will notice, these faculties become scarce in supply as the night wears on at your local pub. This is because the alcohol is a depressant that specifically depresses the the working order of our central nervous system. Oh and another thing, the central nervous system is the one that controls how we process our emotion too. Bottom line, alcohol is a little too good at intensifying the symptoms linked to depression. Try cutting back on the booze and you will be pleasantly surprised of the emotional and mental benefits of not drinking.
1) Hydrogenated Oil
French fries, fried chicken, deep fried calamari and fried cheese sticks. We all know these unhealthy foods are a recipe for weight gain. But did you know that they are also linked to depression? You see, deep frying is commonly done in hydrogenated oil. Hydrogenation is a process which converts vegetable oil into a more solid, shelf-stable product. Anything that you cook with hydrogenated oil and trans fats could potentially contribute to depression. Saturated fats, the ones we find in high-fat dairy, butter and deli meats can clog arteries and prevent blood flow to the brain, which is really bad since optimal brain function is what you really want when you are trying to fend off the blues.