Diet is a leading contributor to one’s wellbeing, which includes both physical and mental health. Although there is no specific diet to treat depression, certain foods that can worsen depression should be eliminated from the diet if one is trying to fight depressive symptoms. Let’s look at a few foods to avoid to keep depression at bay:
- Sugar: Consuming sugary foods satiates the taste buds but can increase blood sugar levels and enhance inflammation in the brain and body. The energy rush caused by sugar intake lowers after half an hour, resulting in plummeting blood glucose levels and depletion of energy, which can also lead to sleep disorders. The increase in brain inflammation also elevates the risk of depression.
- Processed foods: If one eats a lot of processed foods like processed meat, candy, refined cereals, pastries, and fried food, they are more likely to face depression. These foods might be the easiest way to fill the stomach when one is hungry, but they leave a person anxious and depressed after digestion. It’s better to opt for vegetables, fruits, and whole foods instead.
- Artificial sweeteners: Artificial sweeteners are harmful additives in foods that can worsen depression and lead to mood swings and dips, insomnia, headache, and reduce the production of serotonin, resulting in depression.
- Foods high in sodium: Diet foods and mixtures might aid weight loss, but they are harmful to people with depression. The presence of excessive salt and sodium can disturb the neurological system and weaken the immune system, leading to fatigue. Too much sodium also results in bloating and water retention in the body.
- Alcohol: Alcohol acts like a depressant to the central nervous system, which controls motor functions and is responsible for the passing of information to the senses. Alcohol intake decelerates the functioning of the system, worsening the symptoms associated with depression.
- Caffeine: People with depressive symptoms must avoid caffeinated foods and beverages. Caffeine adversely affects one’s sleep cycle if consumed close to bedtime, causing anxiety and trouble falling asleep. It can also cause nervousness, tremors, mood swings, and agitation. Energy drinks like red bull are also harmful to people suffering from depression, as they have extremely high levels of caffeine.
- Fruit juice: Fruit juice, whether natural or canned, does not contain any fiber content. The fiber in whole fruits fills the stomach and regulates how the blood takes in sugar. On the contrary, drinking fruit juice causes an increase in the blood sugar levels and also brings it down at the same rate. This can lead to anxiety and cause depression, so it’s better to drink water than fruit juice when feeling thirsty.
One should eliminate these foods that can worsen depression from their diet and seek medical assistance if the symptoms aggravate over time.