Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Bad-Mood Foods by Corey J. Hebert, M.D.
How many times have you started out your workweek dreary and run-down? You schlep to the coffee machine and start chugging java to make you feel better Ė sound familiar? Well, you might not have a case of the Mondays. It may have to do more with the foods that you consumed during the weekend.
Thatís right, there are very common foods that we consume every day that can drastically decrease our mood. In fact, some of them can actually make you downright depressed. Iíll tell you about some foods that will boost your mood, but, first, the bad news: One of your favorite morning staples could be totally bringing you down Ė the bagel. Unhealthy white grains, especially when ingested without protein, can cause a spike in blood sugar. Your body reacts by pulling your blood sugar down, causing you to feel lethargic. While that morning bagel may fill you up and make you feel better for a little while, youíll regret it 45 minutes later when youíre run down and crankier than you were before you ate it.
Next, we have a little monster Ė the cupcake. Everywhere you go, you see a new cupcake bakery and arenít they always so cute! Well, theyíre not so cute. Carbohydrate-laden foods make it easier for tryptophan to enter the brain, which produces serotonin, which makes us feel great. But the surge of energy caused by the combo of white flours and white sugars is followed by a major crash, as well as mood swings. Avoid the office birthday party if you have to eat the cake.
One of my all-time favorite guilty pleasures is on this ďbadĒ list as well Ė the hot dog. Or any manufactured processed meat like bologna for that matter. They are chock full of nitrates, a preservative used to keep food fresh. Nitrates can cause both tension and migraine headaches, so stay away from these meats. If you must have them, look for the nitrate-free versions.
And then thereís the matter of French Fries. Iím probably going to get hate mail for that one. I donít know one person who doesnít love their golden fried salty goodness. But with whopping amount of bad fats, high sodium, and refined carbs, these little wonders take hours to digest and can put you in to a fast food coma.
Lastly, stay away from sugar-free drinks. This means the sodas and those little powders or liquids that you add to water. These fool your mind into thinking that you are actually consuming sugar, and then send you on a frenzy to actually find real sugar later. People that drink these diet drinks actually tend to gain more weight than people who drink the real thing. Some recent studies show that the sugar-free sweetener combined with the caffeine can actually turn into formaldehyde in the bodies of some folks Ė so its best just to stay away all together.
Also, remember that anytime that you have a nutritional deficiency, such as a lack of magnesium, vitamin C or some B vitamins, it could make a person have a shorter fuse that usual.
Make it your business to try to eat two or more of these good-mood foods every day.
Start with spinach. Try putting in your morning smoothie. Trust me, you wont taste it. Itís rich in iron, and itís a great energy-booster and wards off fatigue and aids concentration. It is also a good source of vitamin B6 and folate, which provide essential support for the brainís ability to produce mood-boosting neurotransmitters.
Make sure to include the oily fish in your diet, such as sardines and mackerel. They are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which help the brain to interpret moods and boost concentration levels.
Believe it or not, peanuts are also awesome. They are one of the best sources of the mood-boosting mineral selenium, which wards off anxiety.
Finally, try some yogurt. You can put this in your morning smoothie as well. Itís rich in calcium and protein; itís also great to ease mood swings, depression and anxiety. Armed with this new information, you can get your happiness back on track (and start mending a few relationships that you lost when you were angry all the time!).