5 Foods That Will Put You In A Rotten Mood
Your diet can really wreck your mood—and not just because you still feel guilty for plowing through a pint of praline pecan ice cream the other night. “My clients easily make the connection between being hungry and being in a bad mood—a.k.a. ‘hangry’—but they don’t often realize that what they eat on a daily basis can also have a direct impact on their mood,” says Emily Edison, RD, a dietitian and sports nutritionist in Seattle.
There’s plenty of research proving the food-mood connection as well—feasting regularly on the wrong menu can spiral you into real depression. Here, the top offenders:
1. Refined carbohydrates
In recent years, simple carbs have been vilified for their fat-promoting, nutrient-lacking qualities. Recently, researchers at Columbia University decided to see if having refined carbohydrates in your diet can make you depressed. Well, dust off the Paleo cookbook, because the answer is yes: Using data from the Women’s Health Initiative—which is tracking more than 70,000 women—the researchers found that the higher a woman’s blood sugar rose after eating sugar and refined grains, the higher her risk of depression. In the study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the researchers also found the reverse to be true: A diet high in whole grains and produce actually lowers a woman’s risk of depression. (Lose up to 15 pounds WITHOUT dieting with Eat Clean to Get Lean, our 21-day clean-eating meal plan.)
Considering the research on refined carbs, it’s easy to see how sugar would also contribute to a higher risk of depression. Sure enough, multiple studies suggest a link. A diet high in sugar can raise levels of inflammation throughout the body and brain—and now research is tying inflammation to higher incidences of depression. One study published in JAMA Psychiatry found that brain inflammation was 30% higher in clinically depressed patients; another study published in the same journal found that patients with mild inflammation who took medication used to treat autoimmune or inflammatory diseases saw decreases in their depression symptoms. (Need more incentive to dial down the sweet stuff? Check out these 7 seven things that happen when you stop eating sugar.)