Have you been feeling depressed lately? You might be surprised to find that your diet could be contributing to how you feel. Here are 5 foods you should avoid!
According to USANA nutritionist Ravinder Lilly, we all know that the positive feelings brought on from comfort foods such as chocolate are short lived. But what many don’t realise is the extent to which their diet is affecting their mental health on the whole.
Ravinder’s shares her advice around some of the food culprits that could be making us feel depressed:
1) Junk food.
Junk food, which basically encompasses anything high in sugar, salt, fat already has a considerable list of associated health concerns.
An Oxford University study recently added to this, revealing that junk food consumption can lead to heightened irritability, aggression and even violent tendencies. Another study found that reaching for a fast food Make-Me-Happy Meal when in a bad mood will actually make you feel worse.
2) Too much caffeine.
If you consider calls before 10am rude and can’t remember the last time you were awake for an early breakfast, then you’re probably the type that appreciates the glory of coffee in the morning.
But while caffeine can certainly boost focus and act as a natural mood lifter, many of us are overdoing it. Too much caffeine stimulates your central nervous system and can in fact result in a racing heart, anxiety and sweating. Break your addiction by cutting down by one cup per day. And choose tea or green tea which provide a much smaller caffeine hit.
3) Cutting carbohydrates.
For some of us, the thought alone of cutting spaghetti and cheese-toasties from our diet can throw us into a fury. And according to researchers at MIT - for those of us that do attempt a low-carb diet, mood swings are very much a possibility.
In a study on rats tormented by a three week low-carb diet, researchers found stopping carbohydrates caused the brain stops regulating serotonin, the neurotransmitter that promotes feelings of happiness and satisfaction.
Top tip: If you want to cut down on carbs, cut out all the processed white stuff and choose heavy, whole grains that come with iron and a whole host of B vitamins to help boost your mood – and provide long lasting energy.
4) Breakfast skippers
There’s a reason why you might be feeling hangry after skipping breakfast. While it may seem like a great way to save on calories, money and time, it certainly won’t save you from a bad mood and could even trigger weight problems. In fact, one study found that adults who started their day with breakfast had a greater positive mood than those who didn’t eat anything.
Having some protein with carbohydrates is the ideal breakfast combo – the protein helps to keep you satisfied and wholegrain carbohydrates help to boost your blood glucose levels.
5) High GI Foods and Drinks
High GI foods and drinks contain tiny sugar molecules which are so small that they get into the bloodstream fast, resulting in a high blood glucose level.
Your body desperately tries to keep blood glucose levels to within very narrow limits ) too much or too little glucose can damage tiny body cells) . Too low and you may get the shakes – you’ll need sugar to raise your blood glucose fast and then complex carbohydrates to provide long-lasting energy.
The trouble with downing too many high GI items is that the overproduction of insulin also stimulates appetite and this can lead to overeating. And, as you know, being overweight and suffering from obesity are both linked to chronic conditions from heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Over time, repeated exposure to high GI foods and drinks (sugar) alters the way your brain responds – you’ll need more to get your fix and this could mean that you crave junk. These are just a few reasons why low GI foods are the best options.
Ravinder says, “If you think your diet could be affecting your mood, consider adding foods rich in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as salmon, mackerel, anchovies and herring. Research has shown that people with lower blood levels of this nutrient are more likely to report symptoms of depression and a more negative outlook
For more, visit www.usana.com