Diet plays a tremendous role in our moods, energy level, and cognitive ability. A dietician and sports nutritionist, Emily Edison reckoned, “My clients easily make the connection between being hungry and being in a bad mood—aka, ‘hangry,’—but they don’t often realise that what they eat on a daily basis can also have a direct impact on their mood.” So, the best advice for a depressed friend out there is this: “watch what you eat.” Having said that, let’s look at five foods that draw in depression, stress and anxiety.

Caffeine

caffeine

Caffeine has been reckoned as a major depressant as it blocks the impact of adenosine in the brain. Adenosine is a neurotransmitter that regulates sleep, boosts mood and alertness. However, caffeine makes adenosine practically inert or unfunctional keeping the body awake and alert throughout the day. Now, experts indicate that stress and depression are associated with sleep. Without sufficient sleep, the memory cannot have the opportunity to regain strength and vitality for next day. Simply put, caffeine affects sleep and insufficient sleep mounts pressure on the brain causing restlessness, mood disorder, thinking disorder and lack of concentration—the major symptoms of depression. Avoid caffeine.

Alcohol

alcohol

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In a depressive episode, it’s often easier to land on a bottle of alcohol with the hope of feeling better. I could remember one cool evening, out of heaviness and anguish, I slept with a bottle of brandy only the wake up the next day, it had spilled over and damaged my blackberry, smiles! But, ask it revived my feelings? Hell no! even If it did, that was only for few hours—the next day was worse than the former. Research proves that alcohol reduces serotonin level in the brain. Serotonin is often dubbed “the happiness hormone;” it improves mood, appetite, and sleep as well as reasoning, learning and concentration, but in the presence of alcohol, everything come to a halt. Simply put, alcohol penetrates into the brain, renders the happiness hormones inert, weakens the mood and, eventually, opens the gate to depression. Avoid alcohol.

Processed Foods

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Studies show that those who consume processed foods have 60 percent risk of both mild and severe depression, at least, once in their lifetime. Dr. Brunner, a reader in epidemiology at UCL said, “if your diet is high in foods that make blood sugar levels go up and down like a yo-yo, then it’s not good for your blood vessels and is bound to have an effect on your brain (Dailymail.co.uk).” Processed foods increase blood sugar level, and excess blood-sugar level weakens parts of the brain responsible for mood control, stress, and wellness.  Instead of fried, or processed food, consider fresh fruits and vegetables. They contain more vitamins, folates and other natural ingredients that boost the brain.

Sugary foods

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Next to alcohol is sugary foods. Diets high in sugar such as cake, chocolates, ice-cream etc do more harm to your health and mental wellness. Sugar has been identified for its inflammatory action on the mental health of its consumers. According to a study published in the JAMA psychiatry, about 30 percent of individuals with brain inflammation are depressed patients. When the brain is inflamed, the mood drops, giving room for several depressive episodes. The more sugary foods consumed, the higher your chances of getting trapped by depression.  So, Avoid sugary foods and if you must eat—moderate.

Deep Fried foods

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Like processed foods, deep- fried foods raises the blood sugar level, weakens the cognitive and mood-boosting parts of the brain thereby inviting weakness, poor concentration, stress and, eventually, depression. Examples of deep fried food are chips, plantain, bean cakes, fish pie, fried fish among many others.

In summary, to avoid depression, watch your diet. Resist the temptation and desist from these foods: alcohol, caffeine, processed foods, sugary and deep-fried meals.

Stay healthy, wealthy and joyful.

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