Diet plays a large role in all aspects of health, even mood. You may think that your brain—or heart—are solely responsible for your happiness and sadness, but what you eat can also have an effect on this as well. This is because when you eat a diet low in nutrients and high in sugar, this actually triggers changes in a person’s mood, even leading or worsening depression in some cases.
Furthermore, have you ever noticed that when you’re sad or depressed, you reach for more unhealthy food? These “comfort” foods are only fueling your low mood and they can contribute to weight gain, which overtime can add to your depression. It’s a vicious cycle, really.
To get out of this cycle and feel happier more often, you may want to avoid the following 10 foods that can contribute to low mood.
Agave: This one may shock you because agave is pushed as a healthy sweetener. In actuality, agave contains excess fructose, which can trigger metabolic syndrome and lead to brain shrinkage and mood instability.
Holiday ham: Even though the holidays are a happy time, your ham isn’t. This is because your holiday ham probably came from a farm that injects their pigs with antibiotics. The ham itself is then injected with sugar, preservatives, and fillers, which can lead to low mood, migraines, and even swollen ankles.
Soda: Soda is loaded with sugar, and after that, sugar runs its course in your body. This can cause you to experience a mood crash.
Margarine: Margarine contains inflammation-triggering industrial fats that can affect mood along with insulin. Think of it this way—margarine is fake and your body doesn’t know what to do with it, so it can lead to negative consequences.
Processed pumpkin seeds: Homemade pumpkin seeds are perfectly fine and healthy to enjoy, but avoid picking up a package of them at the store. Often, items like this are coated with potassium borate, which prevents iodine from being absorbed by the thyroid, which is important for mood regulation.
Potato chips: Potato chips are often loaded with omega-6 fatty acids, which can alter mood by blocking out brain-boosting omega-3s. Furthermore, frying potatoes causes acrylamide, which is a carcinogen.
Bagels: Bagels look like a zero, which basically means they do nothing for you. They are packed with refined sugars, which causes your own sugars to spike and crash, leaving you with a lower mood.
Peanuts: Once again, peanuts that you crack open yourself are okay, but the packaged salty variety you see in bars or party mixes aren’t quite as healthy. Packaged peanuts often contain monosodium glutamate (MSG), which is linked to migraines, weakness, burning, wheezing, and difficulty breathing.
Vegetable shortening: The same reasons why you should avoid margarine also apply to vegetable shortening.
Prepared sweet potatoes: Sweet potatoes are a really delicious health food, but not when it’s ridden in sugar and marshmallows. Low mood and irritability can follow after eating sweetened sweet potatoes.