When Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” there was a reason behind it. We are all aware of the relationship between what we eat and our physical health, aren’t we? But there’s more to this relationship; what we eat also impacts our emotional and mental wellbeing. Still not clear? Well, let’s just say that the grumpiness we experience when we overindulge in those gastronomic vices of ours is not just because of the food guilt.
Let’s remember that it’s actually a two-way street here. Our brain’s chemistry is directly influenced by our food, and our food choices are greatly influenced by our moods, – which is why it’s vital for us to understand what various varieties of food can do to our body and mind (1). See, there are foods like the ones that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids (avocado, salmon) which boost our moods and then there are foods like the ultra-processed ones (burger and fries) which negatively impact our brain (2).
So, the next time you feel cranky, irritated, and annoyed, observe what foods you’ve been consuming. Because chances are that it’s the bad mood foods which are the culprit here. Let’s take a look at some of those culprits now.
Yeah, we know, it truly kills your joy to find out that soda leaves a negative impact on your mood, right? We feel you, people! But the truth is that your beloved soda contains simple sugars which get easily absorbed into our bloodstream. This spikes our energy levels and crashes it the same way, making our mental state of mind go haywire (3). The zero calories variants of soda are even more harmful as they’re linked to diabetes (4).
While people all over the world still continue to debate over the health quotient of, margarine or butter, we’re here to tell you that margarine might not be that healthy. It is made of industrial fats which promote inflammation in our body, and the high levels of omega-6 fatty acids present in it can mess with our mood as well as our insulin levels (5).
Healthy Switch: Pastured butter (butter made from cows which are grass-fed).
3. Agave Nectar
If you’ve been thinking of agave nectar as a healthy and a natural version of sweetener, you’re being misled. Yes, this nectar surely doesn’t raise your blood sugar levels, but it contains excess levels of fructose in it which can make you more susceptible to developing a metabolism syndrome which can lead to mood instability in you (6).
Most of us must have grown up thinking bagels are really healthy, but the truth is that this popular breakfast pick has carbs written all over it, which can make your energy levels to crash. And they are made from white grains which provide you with empty calories and zero nutritional values. Plus, these days bagels have doubled in size, which makes them even more problematic.
5. Salted Peanuts
We suggest that you nix these from your diets. The salted, packaged peanuts contain high amounts of sodium in them and often contain a food additive called MSG (monosodium glutamate). This MSG is an artificial flavoring agent which is linked to weakness, migraines, wheezing, and breathing problems – now, who wants to deal with that (7)? It will definitely mess up your mental health, won’t it?
Healthy Switch: Create your own nut mix that benefits your brain and mood. Mix almonds, Brazil nuts, walnuts together to make your own healthy trail mix. And these options are all omega-3 and vitamin-rich.
6. Baked Foods
Some of us love ending our meals on a sweet note. Often times, we reach out for muffins, donuts, cookies or cakes to satisfy this sugar craving of ours. These goodies affect our health more negatively than one could imagine. We are feeding our body with empty calories by eating them. And not to forget that they are jam-packed with saturated oils, vegetable shortenings, and refined sugars – all of which will make us lethargic and fat.
Majority of us kickstart our morning with a cup of coffee for obvious reasons – it’s so full of antioxidants and that adrenaline rush from our pituitary gland is all we need to start the day with a bang. But if we’re downing way too much of it in a day, we will find your mood not so cheerful. A caffeine overdose can lead to increased heart rate, make us anxious, and cause major mood swings too.
We know you love these foods but we’re sure you love your health much more. So, if you have these foods in your diet, ditch them and find yourself healthy alternatives. Is there any food item you want to add to the list? Leave them in the comments below.
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