The link between unhealthy eating habits and chronic disease and disorders are well known but emotional well being is not as common. Writer Lori Alton wrote an article elaborating on the connection between mental and emotional health, and a diet dominated by processed foods and refined sugar. Here are a couple of factors that link sugar and depression.
The link between sugar and depression
1. Sugars and sweets
Research is beginning to make the link between sugar’s ability to raise levels of inflammation throughout the brain and body to higher incidences of depression. For example, a study published in the JAMA Psychiatry discovered that brain inflammation was 30 percent higher in clinically depressed patients. Reducing your intake of sugary foods and replacing them with anti-inflammatory choices can improve your mood.
2. Refined carbohydrates
With data gleaned from the Women’s Health Initiative, tracking more than 70,000 women, the study results showed that the higher a woman’s blood sugar jumped after consuming sugar and refined grains, the greater her risk of developing depression.
Published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the researchers noted that their study also showed the opposite to be true: women consuming a diet high in whole grains and healthy produce reduced their risk of depression.
3. Trans fats
Research has shown that consuming too many unhealthy trans fats can increase your chances of depression by as much as 48 percent.
4. Artificial sweeteners
If you are thinking about giving up sugar and satisfying your sweet tooth with foods laden with aspartame, think again. While you may be able to reduce your calories, these sugar alternatives are best avoided if you already suffer from symptoms of depression because research has shown they can drastically worsen symptoms.
Choosing a healthy diet to promote mental health
Nearly all scientific studies examining the link between poor diet and mental illnesses like depression have been focused on a specific food. But research published in the British Journal of Psychiatry looked at the diets of 3,000 people and found that those who ate the most processed foods, had a much higher rate of depression while those who ate primarily whole foods saw their rate of depression drop.
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