The kind of foods you eat can make or break your mood. This is apparent not only minutes after you’ve eaten but also over time, as your diet helps to shape your mental health from the inside out. The best place to flip the switch on your mood is most likely NOT in your medicine cabinet but right in your pantry or refrigerator.
According to Dr. Mercola and NY Times best selling author, here are three top foods that can trigger a poor mood. These foods must be avoided as much as possible for the sake of your own mental health.
Sugar can lead to fluctuations in blood sugar, which can bring on mood swings, but its role in poor mood actually goes much deeper than that. Entire books have been written on this topic, such as William Duffy’s book, Sugar Blues. There are at least three potential mechanisms through which refined sugar intake could exert a toxic effect on your mood and mental health:
Sugar (particularly fructose) and grains contribute to insulin and leptin resistance and impaired signaling, which play a significant role in your mental health
Sugar consumption also triggers a cascade of chemical reactions in your body that promote chronic inflammation. In the long term, inflammation disrupts the normal functioning of your immune system, which is linked to a greater risk of depression
Gluten, a protein found in grains such as wheat, rye and barley, may negatively impact mood and brain health. In fact, a number of studies indicate that wheat can have a detrimental effect on mood, promoting depression and even more serious mental health problems such as schizophrenia. One mechanism that can help explain the mysterious connection between wheat and mental health problems is the fact that wheat inhibits production of serotonin.
Neurotransmitters like serotonin can be found not just in your brain, but also in your gut. In fact, the greatest concentration of serotonin, which is involved in mood control, depression and aggression, is found in your intestines, not your brain!
3. Processed Foods
The list of potentially mood-busting ingredients in processed foods is a long one. Aside from sugar and gluten, they may also contain trans fats, artificial colors, monosodium glutamate (MSG), artificial sweeteners and other synthetic ingredients linked to irritability and poor mood.
Another important factor to consider is your gut. Nourishing your gut may boost your mood and protect your mental health. Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, a medical doctor with a postgraduate degree in neurology, has pointed out that toxicity in your gut can flow throughout your body and into your brain, where it can cause symptoms of poor mood, autism, ADHD, depression, schizophrenia and a whole host of other mental and behavioral disorders.
The best thing you can do to support your mental and physical health is to eat whole foods. Click the Nutrition Category to find a suggested meal plan to follow.
Here are the top 3 food items that will boost your mood:
1. Dark Chocolate (the new anti-anxiety drug)
One of the great things about chocolate is that it produces anandamide and other chemicals that prolong the “feel-good” aspects of anandamide.
A high-quality source of protein – like organic eggs, a piece of Gouda cheese or a handful of almonds – helps to keep your blood sugar levels steady for enhanced energy and mood.
Bananas contain dopamine, a natural reward chemical that boosts your mood. They’re also rich in B vitamins, including vitamin B6, which help to soothe your nervous system, and magnesium, another nutrient associated with positive mood. Just be careful to limit them if you have insulin/leptin resistance. Eat half of a banana instead of a whole one.
Overall, individual food choices may make a difference in how you feel mentally and emotionally from day to day. Try making better food choices today!