Your body is nourished and strengthened by the food you eat. As a result, it must immediately affect your entire body, including your brain. And, since your brain controls all of your body’s functions, including your mood, nutritional considerations would undoubtedly have to be part of any mental health management plan.
Many studies show that people who eat a low-inflammatory diet have a lower risk of anxiety and depression. Unfortunately, most of the foods found in the Standard American Diet are inflammatory. A more nutritious diet includes high-quality proteins, vitamins, antioxidants, and healthy fats. Let’s look at a detailed list of foods and drinks that trigger anxiety and depression.
Whole fruit fiber fills you up and lowers the pace at which your blood absorbs energy. You’re basically drinking nutritious sugar water without the fiber, which may swiftly hype you up — and knock you down quickly. This can make you “hangry” – hungry and angry. Anxiety and despair will not be alleviated in this manner. Therefore, consume your fruit in its entirety. Drink water when you are thirsty.
You can’t win in this situation: It contains all of the blood-sugar-spiking sugar of fruit juice but none of the nutritional value. In addition, sugar-sweetened beverages, such as soda, have also been linked to depression. Instead of a soda, try seltzer water with a splash of juice. It’ll satisfy your bubbly craving without overloading you with unnecessary ingredients.
Isn’t it true that if there’s no sugar in it, there’s no problem? Certainly not. Although diet soda does not cause the energy drop that follows with too much sugar, it can make you depressed. It can depress you even more than its sugary counterpart. Anxiety can worsen with too much caffeine, which is included in many sodas.
If your toast is made from white bread, it’s a no-no. After consuming it, the highly processed white flour it’s made of immediately converts to blood sugar. This can lead to energy surges and drops, worsening anxiety and depression. You can still eat toast; just make sure it’s whole grain.
Most people know that some pre-packaged dressings and marinades contain sugar, often labeled as “high-fructose corn syrup.” But what about dressings that are “light” or “sugar-free”? Unfortunately, most of these dressings get sweetness from aspartame, an artificial sweetener associated with anxiety and depression. When grocery shopping, check the ingredients thoroughly or, even better, make a homemade dressing.
Isn’t ketchup mostly tomatoes? Yes, and there’s sugar, a lot of sugar. To be precise, four grams of sugar per tablespoon. Artificial sweeteners (linked to anxiety and depression) may be present in the “light” version. Instead, make your own tomato salsa. Do you need a little kick? Add a pinch of cayenne pepper.
Caffeine might make you anxious and nervous if you’re not used to it. It may also disrupt your sleep—neither aid in the treatment of anxiety or depression. In addition, caffeine withdrawal can also be unpleasant. If you think caffeine is causing you problems, gradually eliminate it from your diet. On the other hand, coffee can help you feel less depressed if you are used to it or drink decaf.
They can lead to anxiety, abnormal heart rhythms, and sleeping problems. This is because it’s not always easy to figure out how much caffeine is hidden in ingredients like guarana. In addition, these beverages frequently contain a lot of sugar or artificial sweeteners. If you’re thirsty, drink some water. Do you need a sugar rush? Eat a piece of fruit or crack open a fresh coconut.
Even a tiny amount of alcohol might disrupt your sleeping patterns. A lack of sleep can increase depression and anxiety while oversleeping can exacerbate the problem. However, a drink may help you relax and socialize, which may benefit your mental health. The trick is to stick to the recommended dosage: not exceeding one drink per day for ladies and two drinks for males.
In addition to sugar, each serving of frosting contains around 2 grams of “trans fats.” They’ve been related to feelings of depression. Sometimes referred to as “partially hydrogenated oils,” they are also found in pizza dough, fried foods, cookies, cakes, and crackers. Check the labels on your products. If you must consume fat, choose “healthy” fats such as salmon, olive oil, almonds, and avocado. Those can lift your mood, making you feel better.
This one is only for gluten intolerance sufferers. Gluten is found in pre-packaged goods like soy sauce, noodles, loaves of bread, and pastries. Gluten sensitivity can make you feel anxious or depressed. It can also make you feel tired and unproductive. Check the labels and try to stay away from them.
You are more likely to feel anxious and depressed if you consume a lot of processed meat, pastries, refined cereals, candies, fried foods, and high-fat dairy items. A diet full of vegetables, fruits, whole fiber-rich grains, and seafood can help you maintain a more balanced mind.
Who doesn’t love doughnuts? After all, a small treat now and again can help lift your spirits. However, doughnuts contain:
- All the bad fats.
- Loads of sugar.
- Snow-white flour with little fiber to limit absorption.
Therefore, if you must eat a doughnut, make it a treat, not a habit.
Foods To Combat Stress and Curb Depression
Some foods help relieve tension more than others, while the lack of some stress-fighting foods can make you feel worse (like anxiety, depression, and panic attacks).
Of course, occasional bouts of stress are usual. But chronic stress isn’t, and it can lead to severe health problems mentally and physically, too (like heart disease). So, to help, here’s a list of some of the best things to eat that will keep your stress levels to a minimum.
Green Leafy Vegetables: Spinach and other leafy vegetables contain a vitamin called folate (also known as folic acid or Vitamin B9) that reduces the risk of depression symptoms.
Sweet Potatoes: Sweet potatoes are a great source of whole, nutrient-rich carbs, vitamin C, and potassium, helping lower stress hormone cortisol levels. Chronic stress can lead to cortisol dysfunction, resulting in pain, inflammation, and other adverse effects.
Artichokes: Artichokes are high in magnesium, potassium, vitamins C, and vitamin K, which are essential for a healthy stress response. On top of that, they’re especially rich in prebiotics, a type of fiber that feeds the good bacteria in your gut.
Artichokes contain a concentrated number of prebiotics like fructooligosaccharides (FOSs), which have been shown to reduce stress levels in animal tests. In another study, individuals who consumed five or more grams of prebiotics daily experienced improved anxiety and depression symptoms.
Blueberries: Blueberries are rich in flavonoid antioxidants, which provide powerful anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects. Consuming flavonoid-rich foods may improve your mood and protect against depression.
Broccoli: Consuming broccoli or other cruciferous vegetables can reduce your risk of mental health disorders, heart disease, and certain cancers. Broccoli is a superfood with concentrated nutrients, including stress-fighting magnesium, folate, and vitamin C.
Another great thing broccoli offers is high levels of sulforaphane – a sulfur compound with neuroprotective properties. Additionally, it may offer anti-depressant and calming effects – and vitamin B6, which is linked to a lower risk of anxiety and despair in women if consumed in higher amounts. One cup (184 grams) of broccoli (cooked) has more than 20% of the daily value for vitamin B6.
Organ Meats: The liver, heart, and kidneys of animals are excellent sources of B vitamins – especially folate, B6, B12, and riboflavin. These vitamins are crucial for stress control because they produce neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin that regulate mood.
Turkey Breast: Turkey breast has the amino acid tryptophan, which aids in producing serotonin – the chemical that helps regulate feelings of happiness and well-being. Other foods rich in tryptophan include lentils, beans, seeds, nuts, oats, tofu, fish, and eggs.
Fatty Fish: Fatty fish like salmon, herring, mackerel, and sardines are rich in mood-boosting omega-3 fats and vitamin D. Omega-3s are so vital for brain health that low omega-3 consumption may lead to increased anxiety and depression. Similarly, Vitamin D deficiency can result in an increased risk of anxiety and depression.
Dark Chocolate: A small indulgence of dark chocolate (70% cocoa or more) may have the power to regulate your stress levels because it can reduce stress hormones like cortisol.
Chamomile Tea: The medicinal herb Chamomile has been used as a natural stress reducer since ancient times. It can be consumed to promote restful sleep and reduce depression and anxiety symptoms.