How many times have you heard people say, “if I could just eat this dessert, I would die happy?” Contrary to what people say, though, if you eat sugary food, you won’t die happy at all. In fact, some foods that are rich in sugar, fats and sodium can cause depression and anxiety. Let’s have a look at 11 depression causing foods to stay away from.
This may come as a surprise to some people. After all, isn’t fruit healthy? However, when you leave out the pulp which contains the fiber in the fruit and just drink the liquids in it, it is not so good for your health.
The reason is that the fiber in whole fruits makes you feel satiated and slows down the digestion process of sugar in your body. Without the fiber, you are just drinking sugary water, albeit with nutrition like vitamins and minerals. This results in a burst of energy that hypes you up — commonly known as the sugar rush — but it leaves just as fast, leaving you lethargic, hungry, and angry — which is the perfect recipe for depression.
This one is a no-brainer. We have all heard how bad soda is for our health since it contains so much sugar. A 600 ml bottle of Coca Cola contains 16 teaspoons of sugar! This amount far exceeds our daily recommended intake of sugar which is 9 teaspoons for men and only 6 teaspoons for women, according to the American Heart Association.
We know that sugar causes obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, all of which have a direct link to depression. So if you are craving some fizz, try seltzer water which can give you the pop you need without the added calories.
Next on this list of depression causing foods to stay away from, we have diet soda. A lot of people with diabetes turn to diet soda to get their sugar fix. After all, no sugar means it’s fine right? Wrong.
In fact, habitually drinking diet soda has been linked to depression, heart disease, stroke, migraine, and yes, even obesity. That’s because artificial sweeteners work in the same way as table sugar. You may not get a sugar rush from them but they do stimulate your hunger hormone, causing you to eat more. Plus the caffeine in them does you no favors either.
If you are big on eating healthy, you should try to make your dressings at home. Many of the store-bought salad dressings and marinades are loaded with sugars, often listed as “high-fructose corn syrup” on the label. However, there are “light” and “sugar-free” dressings also available in the market.
Unfortunately, though, these sugar-free sauces are loaded with aspartame, which is the same stuff that lends sweetness to Diet Coke, and as we discussed before, it is directly linked to depression.
Many of us can’t wake up properly in the mornings without our much-needed cup of Joe. However, too much caffeine can make you nervous and jittery and it can definitely mess up your sleep cycle — and that can lead to mood swings and depression.
Caffeine withdrawal can be a pain too. If you drink more than three or four cups of coffee each day, it is a good idea to cut down and wean it out of your diet slowly. In exchange, you can try decaf coffee which can actually alleviate depression.
Energy drinks are supposed to give athletes a boost of energy, right? This is also otherwise known as a sugar rush which we know leads to a crash soon enough. Even sugar-free energy drinks contain artificial sweeteners, which are linked to depression.
Additionally, energy drinks have hidden ingredients like guarana, which contains twice the caffeine of coffee beans.
Even a little alcohol can disturb your sleep. Not enough rest can lead to crankiness, headaches, and depression. Additionally, alcohol is a known depressant and can amplify negative feelings and suppress happy feelings. It is also linked to low self-esteem and weight gain — hence the term beer belly.
For women, a single drink of alcohol and for men, two drinks is the limit.
Refined oils undergo the process of hydrogenation to make it more stable and give it longer shelf life. When this hydrogenated oil is heated at a high temperature (like when it is used in frying), it turns to trans fats.
These trans fats suppress the flow of blood to the brain, cause depression, and are also strongly linked to cancer.
Processed oils are found in most fried products as well as fat-rich desserts like cake frosting.
Highly Processed Food
All foods require a little degree of processing. Cooking is a form of processing too but if the food is highly processed, which is the case with most fast food, it can be very damaging to your health and can cause depression, anxiety, obesity, and heart conditions.
That’s because processed food contains a lot of trans fat, sugars, and sodium, all of which cause disruption in our neurological system. Hence fast-food chain burgers, pizzas, pastries, donuts, candies, and high-fat dairy products should all be avoided.
Anything that is made from white flour comes with health risks — even your morning toast. White flour is absent of a lot of fiber and the sugars in it are absorbed too quickly by the body. Hence it functions in the same ways as sugary drinks and causes a sugar crash, which leads to lethargy and depression.
So that means if you eat cakes, donuts, bread, pasta, cookies, and pretzels made of white flour, you need to reconsider your lifestyle choices.
Last on this list of depression causing foods to stay away from, we have a Chinese food staple – Soy sauce. Soy sauce has some health benefits, one of which is that it has less sodium than table salt. However, if you have a gluten sensitivity, then soy sauce can lead to gut inflammation and immunity disorders. For people who suffer from celiac disease, soy sauce can be akin to poison but according to research, gluten is also linked to depression in people who do not have this condition.
Even though just reading this list must have put many of you in depression, we certainly don’t mean you need to eliminate these foods from your diet altogether. The key is moderation. When it comes to these 11 depression causing foods to stay away from, you should treat these foods like treats rather than staple foods and incorporate whole fruit, vegetable, and healthy fats in your diet to live a healthy life.