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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, 2019

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

Plato knew that the body and mind are intimately linked. And in the late 1800s, the Mayo brothers, famous physicians, estimated that over half of all hospital beds are filled with people suffering from frustration, anxiety, worry and despair. Causes of worry are everywhere, in our relationships and our jobs, so it’s key we find ways to take charge of the stress.

In his classic book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie offers tools to ditch excessive worrying that help you make a worry-free environment for your private and professional life.

These are the top 10 tips to grab worry by the horns and wrestle it to the ground:

1. Make Your Decision and Never Look Back

Have you ever made a decision in life only to second-guess it afterwards? Of course you have! It’s hard not to wonder whether you’ve done the right thing and whether there might still be time to take another path.

But keep this in mind: you’ve already made your decision, so act decisively on it and dismiss all your anxiety about it.

Don’t stop to hesitate, to reconsider, or to retrace your steps. Once you’ve chosen a course of action, stick to it and never waver.

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2. Live for Today, Package Things up in “Day-Tight Compartments”

You know that feeling: tossing, turning and worrying over something that happened or something that might, well into the wee hours. To avoid this pointless worrying, you need “day-tight compartments”. Much as a ship has different watertight compartments, your own “day-tight” ones are a way to limit your attention to the present day.

The rule is simple: whatever happened in the past or might happen in the future must not intrude upon today. Everything else has to wait its turn for tomorrow’s box or stay stuck in the past.

3. Embrace the Worst-Case Scenario and Strategize to Offset It

If you’re worried about something, ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Could you lose your job? Be jailed? Get killed?

Whatever the “worst” might be, it’s probably not so world-ending. You could probably even bounce back from it!

If, for example, you lose your job, you could always find another. Once you accept the worst-case scenario and get thinking about contingency plans, you’ll feel calmer.

4. Put a Lid on Your Worrying

Sometimes we stress endlessly about negative experiences when just walking away from them would serve us far better.

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To make squashing that worry easier, try this strategy, straight from stock traders: it’s called the “stop-loss” order, where shares are bought at a certain price, and then their price development is observed. If things go badly and the share price hits a certain point, they are sold off immediately. This stops the loss from increasing further.

In the same manner, you can put a stop-loss order on things that cause you stress and grief.

5. Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Happiness, That Is

We can’t directly influence how we feel, but we can nudge ourselves to change through how we think and act.

If you’re feeling sad or low, slap a big grin on your face and whistle a chipper tune. You’ll find it impossible to be blue when acting cheerful. But you don’t necessarily need to act outwardly happy; you can simply think happier thoughts instead.

Marcus Aurelius summed it up aptly:

“Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

6. Give for the Joy of Giving

When we perform acts of kindness, we often do so with the expectation of gratitude. But harboring such expectations will probably leave you disappointed.

One person well aware of this fact was the lawyer Samuel Leibowitz. Over the course of his career, Leibowitz saved 78 people from going to the electric chair. Guess how many thanked him? None.

So stop expecting gratitude when you’re kind to someone. Instead, take joy from the act yourself.

7. Dump Envy – Enjoy Being Uniquely You

Your genes are completely unique. Even if someone had the same parents as you, the likelihood of someone identical to you being born is just one in 300,000 billion.

Despite this amazing fact, many of us long to be someone else, thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But living your life this way is pointless. Embrace your uniqueness and get comfortable with who you really are: How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

8. Haters Will Hate — It Just Means You’re Doing It Right

When you’re criticized, it often means you’re accomplishing something noteworthy. In fact, let’s take it a step further and consider this: the more you’re criticized, the more influential and important a person you likely are.

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So the next time somebody talks you down, don’t let it get to you. Take it as a compliment!

9. Chill Out! Learn to Rest Before You Get Tired

Scientists agree that emotions are the most common cause of fatigue. And it works the other way around, too: fatigue produces more worries and negative emotions.

It should be clear, therefore, that you’ve got to relax regularly before you feel tired. Otherwise, worries and fatigue will accumulate on top of each other.

It’s impossible to worry when you are relaxed, and regular rest helps you maintain your ability to work effectively.

10. Get Organized and Enjoy Your Work

There are few greater sources of misery in life than having to work, day in, day out, in a job you despise. It would make sense then that you shouldn’t pick a job you hate, or even just dislike doing.

But say you already have a job. How can you make it more enjoyable and worry-free? One way is to stay organized: a desk full of unanswered mails and memos is sure to breed worries.

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Better yet, rethink about the job you’re doing: What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

More About Living a Fulfilling Life

Featured photo credit: Tyler Nix via unsplash.com

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