Just as there are foods that can boost your mood and make you feel better, there are also foods that can make you feel worse. More specifically, there are foods that can make your depression worse.
“The most important action to take as a consumer with depressive symptoms is to buy organic and learn how to read nutrition labels properly. Arming yourself with knowledge will ease the impact of foods on mood and empower you to be more proactive in your health maintenance,” according to Robin Wood-Moen in a LiveStrong.com article.
You typically want to stay away from the following foods that may negatively impact your mood:
Sugar and Caffeine
Having a cup of coffee or a candy bar can be the most comforting thing if you’re looking for a quick boost of energy. But, sugar and caffeine could end up having the opposite effect after those few minutes of energy wear off. According to PsychCentral, that treat and all refined sugar cause our blood glucose levels to plummet, resulting in a sugar hangover that disrupts our mood, depletes our energy and is linked to sleep disorders. Unfortunately, this includes artificial sweeteners.
Having caffeine close to bedtime may affect your ability to fall (and stay) asleep which could affect your mood the next day. A sleepless night paired with a caffeine boost can cause agitation, tremors and nervousness.
Similar to so-called comfort foods, many rely on having a drink or two to help themselves wind down at the end of the day. But, because alcohol is a depressant that affects the central nervous system, it’s also likely to change the way we process emotion, according to EatThis.com.
High Sodium Foods
This includes most processed and packaged foods, even when they’re labeled “low-fat.” Not only do these foods come with the convenience of not having to spend hours in the kitchen, they also come with a ton of sodium. According to PsychCentral.com, the excess sodium in these products can disrupt your neurological system, contributing to depression, and can muck up your immune system response, causing fatigue. Having too much salt in your diet can also contribute to weight gain.
According to PshyCentral.com, anything that is cooked with hydrogenated oils and contains trans fats could potentially contribute to depression. So, you’ll want to stay away from (or eat sparingly) fried foods. Yes, this includes fried vegetables.