Depression and anxiety can have a tremendously negative impact on life. Not only can they deliver overwhelming feelings of sadness and restlessness, but they can also affect your sleeping habits, eating habits, and overall health in general. In order to properly manage the symptoms of depression and anxiety, changes in lifestyle are usually the first recommendation combined with psychotherapy and sometimes medication. One of the factors that could be making your symptoms worse is the food that you are putting into your body. Take some time to think about what you’re eating everyday and ask yourself how that food is making you feel after you eat it. Could it be possible that the food you’re eating could be making you feel worse, not better? If so, this is a great opportunity to use food as medicine and flip your diet around. Here are a few foods that you should definitely eliminate from your diet if you have depression or anxiety.
By definition, a processed food is a food item that has had a series of mechanical or chemical operations performed on it to change or preserve it. Processed foods are those that typically come in a box or bag and contain more than one item on the list of ingredients. If most of your diet consists of foods like processed meats, fried foods, refined cereals, candy, pastries, or high fat dairy, it may be having a negative impact on your symptoms. A good rule of thumb to use with food is if you can’t understand the ingredients on the food label, don’t buy the food. Instead, opt for clean choices like fruits, veggies, fish, and fiber rich whole grains. Here’s another article with useful information on some clean diet choices that may be helpful.
Everyone loves a good doughnut, and occasionally sweets can boost your mood in the short term. But did you know that doughnuts are made with bleached flour, bad fats, and lots of sugar? So, if you frequently eat doughnuts, it’s probably not helping your moods in the long term.
Chinese Food Made With Soy Sauce
Soy sauce can and other marinades that contain MSG can make you feel sluggish. You may want to avoid it, especially if you are sensitive to gluten. If you have a gluten sensitivity, soy sauce specifically has been show to cause symptoms of depression or anxiety.
It’s not just the sugar in frosting that’s bad for you. Frosting contains about 2 grams of trans fat per serving, which has been linked to depression. Trans fats are also in fried foods, pizza, cakes, cookies, and crackers. Instead of eating trans fats, aim for healthy fats like those that come from fish, olive oil, avocado, and nuts. These omega-3 fats have been shown to improve moods.
Don’t be fooled by the tomato that’s on the branding of many ketchup bottles! Ketchup is loaded with sugar and artificial sweeteners that can make your anxiety and depression worse. Instead, try home made tomato sauce with a little hot pepper flakes added to give it some flavor.
One of the first ingredients in most pre-packaged dressings and marinades is high fructose corn syrup. Many light dressings specifically are flavored with artificial sweeteners like aspartame, which has been linked to anxiety and depression. Instead, try making your dressing at home (it’s super easy!), just mix a little olive oil, lemon, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper in a bowl. It’s much cleaner and tastier than store bought brands. You’ll taste and feel the difference!
As delicious as white bread is, it’s highly processed with bleached white flour and converts to sugar after you eat it. This can cause energy spikes and sub sequential crashes that can be bad for your anxiety or depression. Instead of white bread, opt for a nice whole grain loaf.
In fact, you may want to avoid food altogether and try fasting. There’s been some new studies conducted that show fasting may be potentially helpful against fighting depression. Read more on this topic in an article originally published at HVMN. Always consult your primary care physician or behavioral health therapist before making any dietary changes.