Doughnuts should be renamed “trans fat nuts.” Those morning chocolate-sprinkled pastries taste delicious but can be chock-full of trans fatty acids, notorious “bad” fats that can trigger negative biological reactions that increase the risk of mood changes. A diet high in trans fats can increase risk of depression, according to WebMD.
Who doesn’t love a refreshing sip of sweet bubbly? Sadly, the more sugar you ingest, the more inflamed your body becomes. What’s wrong with inflammation? A study published in Psychiatry, a journal of the American Medical Association, found that depression is linked with higher levels of inflammation in the brain. To satisfy your sweet tooth, eat a few ounces of dark chocolate instead, which has little to no sugar and is a superfood in its own right.
It’s not the potato that’s the problem—it’s the salt. High-sodium diets cause bloating that, while not technically a medical problem, can put you in a lousy mood. To help combat a salty diet, drink lots of water. Try these genius hacks to get yourself guzzling more water.
You might want to rethink that afternoon pick-me-up. While there is no definitive link between caffeine and depression, this popular stimulant can make insomnia worse, and according to Mayo Clinic, lack of sleep—and anxiety surrounding insomnia—can increase the symptoms of depression. Try to limit yourself to one cup per day (and the earlier in the day you drink it, the better). Check out the signs that you may be overdoing it on coffee.
Too much alcohol wreaks havoc on your mood. According to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, alcohol can cause an imbalance in your brain chemistry, increasing the risk of depression. What’s more, overindulging can cause social problems, resulting in isolation that can lead to depression. Lastly, hangovers themselves can create days of low mood and anxiety. Try to stick with a glass or two of wine a night. These simple tips make it easy to cut back on alcohol.
Microwaveable meals are convenient, but according to the British Journal of Psychiatry, high consumption of processed foods is linked to an increased risk of depression. Instead, boil whole-wheat pasta and top if off with fresh tomato sauce and steamed frozen veggies. You’ll have a tasty dinner in 20 minutes flat.
If you have celiac disease, eating gluten, a protein that comes from wheat and grains such as barley, rye, and oat, can cause major mood changes, in addition to dangerous attacks on your small intestine. But according to Celiac.org, many people can have gluten intolerance, and for them, gluten may also hike the risk of depression. Not sure if gluten affects your mood? Try cutting it out for a week, and see if you notice any improvements.