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6 Eating Habits That Make You Anxious And Depressed

6 Eating Habits That Make You Anxious And Depressed

People often think that a healthy diet means you’ll have a healthy body as a result. Although that is true, did you also know that a healthy diet means a healthy mind? We all have days where we feel really great. We feel energetic, positive, content, and well-balanced. Other days we feel sluggish, tired, sad, and unmotivated for seemingly no reason. In this post, we will talk about the relationship between our diets, and anxiety and depression.

1. Reliance on caffeine

Coffee is sometimes the only thing that can keep us moving throughout the day. As we’re going to work, we stop for coffee to give us that pep in our step. By the afternoon we get that mid-day crash, and reach for yet another cup of coffee to get us through the rest of our day. Unfortunately, caffeine doesn’t really do what we think it does but can pose very harmful effects on our brains.

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When drinking caffeine becomes something we need every day, you no longer drink it for that occasional boost. You’re drinking it because your body now depends on it to function. According to The Journal of Young Investigators, when caffeine is absent, there is a reduction of serotonin which will cause anxiety, irritability, and an inability to concentrate.

2. Diets with too much sugar

Today, an average American consumes about 32 teaspoons of sugar per day. We all know that consuming foods with too much sugar is bad for us. Serotonin is critical to regulate a number of bodily functions, including sleep cycles, pain control, carbohydrate cravings, and digestion. Low levels of serotonin have also been associated with depressed immune function.

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With an increase in blood pressure, there is also an increase in cortisol production. With the increase of cortisol, it can increase the production of thyroid hormones, causing problems with digestion. It can even cause problems with the reproductive system. Finally, when cortisol levels are too high it can cause infertility and even miscarriage.

3. Alcohol consumption

Most of us know that alcohol is a depressant. We drink without ever really thinking about the repercussions, far past the hangover that we all know follows. Not only is alcohol a depressant, it is also a stimulant. “It suppresses the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate and increases the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA. What this means for you, is that your thoughts, speech, and movements are slowed down, and the more you drink the more of these effects you’ll feel.” Alcohol abuse does indeed raise the levels of serotonin in the brain temporarily, however it also has many other effects on the specific serotonin receptors that cause its levels to decrease in time.

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4. Eating too many fried foods

We’ve all had a bad day before. Okay, maybe a few bad days. When these bad days hit, we usually turn to the things that make us “feel better”. You know what I mean: cookies, ice cream, chips– you get the picture. How many times have you eaten those foods and actually felt better? I mean, really felt better? We feel good in the moment and then later on we regret what we ate. You have no idea what those foods are actually doing to your mental health. Not only do fried foods cause weight gain, they’re also linked to depression. “Anything that is cooked with hydrogenated oils and contain trans fats could potentially contribute to depression.”

5. High salt intake

I love salt so much that I would carry a salt shaker in my purse if it wasn’t completely frowned upon. I always knew that too much salt was bad for you, and I knew I had a problem when my roommate started buying salt-free butter. I didn’t even know that was a thing. You may or may not know that salt raises your blood pressure. In turn, this requires your heart to work harder.

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Try to remember that when cooking at home, use herbs and spices to add flavor to your dishes in place of salt. Also, try to avoid eating foods with a lot of salt at nighttime, because at this time your body is supposed to be unwinding from the day. That’s why you’ll want to avoid making it work harder to process anything difficult.

6. Skipping breakfast

I get it, some of you just aren’t breakfast people. Or you have that “I don’t have time for breakfast” excuse. Well, did you know that breakfast happens to be the most important meal of the day, and skipping it can actually lead to low blood sugar. This will then cause your brain to run on low energy, and if you’re a person suffering from depression you know that you need your brain working full force to help you out.

Sometimes we skip breakfast, and then by lunch we still aren’t feeling hungry, so we just go with it. The real reason you’re not feeling hungry, is because your body has habituated to not eating at this time. This habit could quite possibly result into a binge problem later on. Do yourself a favor and get some eggs and veggies in your system the first thing in the morning. Your body– and most importantly your mind– will thank you.

Foods you should eat for a better mood

  • Dark leafy greens
  • Walnuts
  • Avocado
  • Berries
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Tomatoes
  • Beans
  • Seeds
  • Apples
  • Fatty fish

Of course we aren’t going to blame your anxiety and depression solely on the fact that your diet needs a little bit of work. But after doing some research, I think it’s safe to say that there is definitely a link between them. We only have one body and mind, and it’s important that we learn how the foods we are eating can affect them.

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Erica Wagner

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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