If you’ve been struggling with depression for some time but can’t seem to get out of your rut despite medication and therapy, you may need to take a look at your diet. There are certain foods that could trigger depressed feelings. Here are some foods you may want to avoid.
1. Artificial sweeteners
If you drink diet sodas, then you’re probably familiar with the sweeteners manufacturers use to replace the sugary stuff. Artificial sweeteners may taste good and give low-calorie foods a better taste, but they can wreck your mood. Author Therese J. Borchard said it’s in your best interest to stay away from fake sugar. “Aspartame is bad stuff. Especially if you are prone to depression. It blocks the production of the neurotransmitter serotonin and causes mood dips, headaches, and insomnia…If you really need a soda fix, go for the fully leaded. The refined sugar, while not health food, is better for you than the fake kind,” said Borchard.
2. Junk food
Grabbing a bag of chips or some other quick, tasty meal is convenient, but it could cost you in the long run. Studies show that meals with low or no nutritional value could contribute to depression since nutrients are needed to help balance brain chemicals. Dr. Carolyn Dean, medical director of the Nutritional Magnesium Association, says nutrition is key. “We know that nutrients such as magnesium, essential fatty acids, and vitamin B6 and B12 help create neurotransmitters, and we are also learning that a deficiency in these nutrients can lead to a chemical imbalance in the brain,” Dr. Dean told Everyday Health.
3. Trans fat
Fatty foods could add to a case of the blues. Artificial trans fats are manufactured during a process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils, making them more solid. So if you’re a fan of fried food, you won’t be happy to hear that the main source of artificial trans fats is partially hydrogenated oils, which are commonly used in fried food and could contribute to a depressed mood. As an alternative, add olive oil to your diet. Researcher Almudena Sanchez-Villegas, who conducted a study on the effects of fatty foods on mood, says olive oil can help lower depression risk. “The participants with an olive oil consumption higher than 20 grams a day (about 0.7 ounces) had a 30% lower risk of depression than those without consumption or with a very low consumption of olive oil,” Sanchez-Villegas told Web MD.