Is Your Food Making You Unhappy

Saad Rana Jul 17 2014
food making unhappy

McDonalds isn’t going to make you suicidal and kulfi isn’t going to make you cry, but too much of certain food products can affect your disposition. Yes, there is a connection between the food you eat and how you feel. What this essentially means is that poor food choices can leave you feeling blue and down in the dumps. How does this happen? According to experts, the food we eat releases certain chemical components when it is ingested. This in turn affects the brain’s limbic system, also referred to as the emotional headquarters of the brain.

Are you curious to find out whether the foods you regularly eat are responsible for your blues? The following list has all the information you need to satisfy that curiosity:

Refined Sugar

A donut tastes great, more so when it provides you with that extra rush of temporary energy. The saying, ‘What goes up must come down’ may have been coined in a different context but it fits this situation perfectly. Why? Because once the temporary sugar rush has reached its peak, it begins to decline sharply. Your blood sugar level drops just as suddenly as it had peaked, and you are left with nothing but an unpleasant sugar hangover i.e. low energy levels, possible sleep pattern disruptions, and an irritable mood.

Artificial Sweeteners

At one point in time, artificial sweeteners were considered to be a healthy alternative to regular sugar. Extensive research has negated this perception, and labeled artificial sweeteners as a bad choice. Artificial sweeteners block the production of serotonin (feel good hormone) which causes mood swings, headaches, and insomnia (sleep disorder). According to experts, Aspartame, NutraSweet and Equal should be strictly avoided.

Processed Foods

Consuming refined carbohydrates, such as white bread, cereal, white pasta, or snack foods, have the same impact on your blood sugar levels as eating a tub of ice cream. What this means is that after the initial glucose boost, you will feel drained, annoyed, and upset. Processed foods are food products that have been through at least one process of refinement before they are made available for consumption. Stick to natural foods as much as possible, and you will soon notice the difference in your mood.

Hydrogenated Oil

Stay away from fried food. This means that you should cut down on your consumption of fried chicken, French fries, samosas, and pakoras. Food cooked in hydrogenated oils contains high levels of trans-fat and saturated fats. These are the bad fats that experts constantly advise everyone to stay away from. Not only do they increase the risks of cardiovascular diseases, but they also make you more susceptible to obesity and conditions such as depression.

(For more information on bad fats, click here: Not All Fats Are Bad For You)

Sodium Overload

Most of the food we consume daily is packed with sodium- often we consume more than the recommended daily requirement. How does your body react to the presence of excess sodium? It has trouble regulating its neurological function (brain functions) and immune functions. In effect, your mood suffers just as much as your natural immunity against diseases and infections does. Excess sodium also causes water retention in the body. Remember all those times you felt dissatisfied and peeved because of the discomfort caused by bloating? Well, the villain was excess sodium.

Caffeine

While one or two cups of coffee a day won’t hurt your emotional stability, anything more can contribute to depression and anxiety. Excess caffeine can disrupt your sleep cycle, and these disturbances can lead to unpleasant mood swings. Caffeine can also cause agitation, tremors, and nervousness. Coffee isn’t the only beverage that contains sizeable quantities of caffeine. Tea, carbonated drinks (such as Pepsi and Coke), and energy drinks all contain variable amounts of caffeine. If you’re a coffee aficionado and can’t stand the thought of cutting down on your daily intake, Team HTV has some additional information for you

Chase Away The Blues With Good Food

The food listed above is delicious, no doubt, but terribly unhealthy at the same time. It is unfortunate that most of us think of healthy food as being bland and boring. It really isn’t! Experiment with flavors and natural ingredients and who knows, you just might surprise yourself with a healthy yet tasteful meal. Top that off with the added benefit of emotional stability, and you have a winner.

The following three food categories have the natural power to undo the damage caused by unhealthy foods, and restore your vitality and happiness.

Foods That Contain B-vitamins

B-vitamins are essential for a happy and healthy mind and body. Foods rich in Vitamin B12, for instance, can help regulate the chemicals in the brain, promoting emotional stability and wellbeing. Eggs, cooked clams (shellfish), beef liver, red meat (beef), crab, fish (mackerel), and bran fortified cereals, are some of the best sources of B-vitamins.

Foods That Contain Omega-3 Fatty Acids

According to experts, a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids has the potential to reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety. Fish, such as herring, salmon and tuna, are the main source of omega-3 fatty acids. Those who don’t like seafood can opt for walnuts, soybeans, and flaxseed instead.

Foods That Contain Complex Carbohydrates

Natural, unprocessed foods that are rich in complex carbohydrates have the ability to trigger the production and release of serotonin (a neurotransmitter that regulates your mood and emotional wellbeing). Rich sources of complex carbohydrates include beans, whole-grain foods, oatmeal, brown rice, and starchy vegetables.

When You’re Happy And You Know It…

An irritable mood can put a damper on your day. If you’re surrounded by other people it can also drag everybody else’s sprits down. So take a minute, sit down, and think about your regular dietary schedule. Could your food be the reason for your unexplained restlessness and irritability? If you think that the answer to this question is ‘yes’ then your dietary plan could benefit from a few adjustments. If you’re in search of more information on foods that can make you happy, why not read further by clicking here: Are You Feeling Blue? These 4 Foods Can Help.

Have you ever experience mood swings after eating certain types of foods? Team HTV would love to hear from you, so feel free to give your input. Till then, stay happy and healthy!

Saad Rana

Saad Rana:

As a current dental student at Ziauddin University, Saad takes an interest in health, fitness and nutrition. He writes articles based on research through on-line publications as well as consulting various doctors and nutrition and fitness experts. When he's not writing for Health TV, you can find him studying, exercising or watching some of his favourite TV shows.