Feeling Exhausted, Unable to Concentrate? Depressed and Anxious?
Is your current diet to blame for your low mood? The foods you eat every day may appear harmless and might be good for a quick energy fix when you’re “hungry”, but did you know that simple meal habit changes can make your attention last longer, reduce stress and increase productivity, permanently?
Foods That Make You Sad and Sluggish
First, it’s good to start with where most people are going wrong with their nutritional choices.
According to WebMD.com, fruit juices are famed for their short-release portions of energy, but in fact fruit juices dispense with the natural fibre you obtain from eating whole fruit – which leaves you essentially consuming water filled with sugar.
Processed white sugar, found in the ingredients of candy, sweets, desserts and fizzy soft drinks, can be linked with depression.
Caffeine from coffee and sodas can destabilise your chilled out mood and can increase anxiety levels.
White flour that can be found in your morning toast, with its laughably miniscule amounts of fibre, has been found to be processed beyond belief, possibly can increase your blood sugar levels to concede to an almighty crash.
Alcoholic beverages have been shown time and time again can cause sleep disturbances, which is a recipe for emotional health problems. They are also can be a source of abnormally high levels of sugar.
Processed meat is unnaturally high in nitrates, used industrially as preservatives, and can be found to increase anxious jitters in people from a surplus of sodium and an increase in blood pressure. High-fat dairy products, such as cheese, could possibly also have high levels of these very same nitrates.
Recent studies in coeliacs and gluten-sensitive people have found that, because their bodies are unable to process just a small amount of gluten, that consumption could have minor depression and anxiety implications, too.
Happy Eaters Around The World
So which foods can we eat to boost our overall mental health in a sustainable way? We can compare international diets around the Globe to really get a better understanding of which foods generally improve our mood and mental wellbeing.
The Mediterranean Diet has been shown time and time again, through history, to have a real, long-lasting impression on our everyday mood. Watch your anxiety and depression levels dwindle down as you tuck into:
- Whole grains for your carbohydrates, such as buckwheat, barley, corn and rye.
- Fatty fish high in Omega-3 oils, such as wild caught tuna and salmon.
- Unprocessed fats from raw, uncooked brazil nuts and olive oil.
Research in the year 2016 has proven that people following a Mediterranean Diet for a sustained period of time were 50% less likely to develop long-term depression. On the other side of the pond, the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (D-A-S-H) Diet was originally devised by doctors in Maryland, the USA to help coach people away from abnormally high blood pressure levels. The test of time has produced radical changes in these patients’ emotional and mental wellbeing, and hypertension has been in most cases eradicated from their system. It is similar to the Mediterranean Diet in that you should feast upon unsaturated fats, whole grains, fresh fruits, and vegetables, but the main two differences are:
- Making the change to no-fat or low-fat dairy produce.
- Getting your proteins from lean white meat such as fresh chicken or turkey.
Rush University Medical Center in the United States issued an annual report that if you follow the D-A-S-H Diet over the course of six and a half years, you are less prone to developing depression than the typical diet of a Westerner.
China has the largest Seafood-eating population in the world, followed closely by the European Union and Japan. Research has been done by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that says countries with big fish consumption habits have proven to be populated with healthier brains.
Omega-3 acid rich oils found in fish such as tuna, salmon, sardines and herring have shown to slow down mental decline and decay, and have also recently been proven to improve depressive symptoms in patients.
What Can We Take From All This?
Learning from three major diets and counterpart studies in different parts of the world, we can do our best to lower irritability and mood swings by avoiding:
- High levels of processed sugar.
- Processed fats and processed meats.
And we can improve our general mental health and our everyday mood, boost our energy levels, increase our concentration and productivity by embracing:
- Whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Fatty and oily fish, lean fresh proteins.
- Raw nuts and seeds.
So next time you can feel your arm extending toward a bag of salted potato chips and a can of diet soda, there is a huge chance a handful of walnuts and an avocado will keep your brain, and your mood, satisfied for longer, instead. Make the switch to keep the blues away!
References : https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/news/20150820/food-mental-health#:~:te xt=Also%2C%20fermented%20foods%20such%20as,selenium%20and%20othe r%20brain%20boosters, https://www.healthline.com/health/best-diets-for-mental-health, https://www.eatright.org/health/wellness/heart-and-cardiovascular-health/dash-diet -reducing-hypertension-through-diet-and-lifestyle