Over 300 million people across the world struggle with depression. This number reflects the sad reality we live in. It points out to all the poor choices we make, including our eating habits.
Researchers reveal the link between junk food and depression
1. What is depression
Depression is a mental condition that’s manifested through sadness, emptiness, hopelessness, worthlessness, and helplessness. It affects everyday life and can’t be controlled. Negative emotions kill your mood, and the dark clouds doesn’t seem to go away. Here are some more details about these symptoms:
– A depressed mood that persists for most of the day
– A feeling of tiredness and general fatigue
– Issues with concentration, memory and decision making
– Insomnia or sleeping too much
– Feelings of guilt and worthlessness
– Lack of interested in common activities (typically enjoyable)
– Weight loss or weight gain
Depression is diagnosed in individuals who have five or more symptoms for over two weeks.
Here are some more symptoms:
• A loss of interest in life
• Headaches and other pains
• Digestive issues
• Excessive hunger or little to no hunger
• Empty emotions
2. Does junk food increase the risk of depression
An analysis based on 41 studies confirmed the link between junk food and depression.
The analysis of junk food and depression
The results were released in the Molecular Psychiatry journal in September 2018. The analysis was titled “Healthy dietary indices and risk of depressive outcomes: a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies.” It was conducted by a group of researchers from Britain, Australia and Spain.
According to this analysis, inflammatory foods cause systemic inflammation. Do you often eat high-sugar, high-fat and other processed foods? The inflammation starts in your intestines and ends up in your head. That’s how you get stuck with depression. When combined with smoking, obesity, and laziness, junk food has even more detrimental effect.
Chronic inflammation pushes pro-inflammatory molecules to the brain, and neurotransmitters (responsible for mood and emotion) are negatively affected and damaged.
Researchers observed 32,908 adult participants and found that bad diet increases the risk of depression.
3. Give up on junk food to treat depression
Many experts believe that cutting down junk food can be of great help.
The control trial
Australian researchers observed 56 people struggling with depression. The observation lasted for 3 months, and participants were split into two groups. They all had their sessions and therapies.
The first group also had nutritional consulting lessons to improve their diet.
The second group had social support-type sessions to cope with their mental condition. They didn’t change their diet.
Those who ate healthy foods had better results. About 32% of the participants in the first group had low scores on their depressive symptoms. Only 8% of the participants in the second group had good results.
Giving up on junk good relieves the symptoms of depression, especially if you take medication or attend other therapies.
4. Junk food to avoid
There are so many products you need to eliminate from your diet.
Soda causes blood sugar spikes and has no nutrients. The crash leads to irritability and mood swings. The same applies to diet soda as it contains caffeine and artificial sweeteners, and gives you anxiety.
B) Hydrogenated oil
Fried foods are cooked with this oil. Avoid fried calamari, chicken, fries and mozzarella sticks. Trans fats and saturated fats affect blood circulation in your brain.
You may love it but do you know that a tablespoon of ketchup contains four grams of sugar? Light sauces contain artificial sweeteners.
D) High sodium
Salt damages the neurological processes, causing immunity issues, tiredness, brain fog, depression, water retention and bloating.
E) White bread and pasta
You may think these are harmless, but the carbs end up in your blood sugar immediately, causing insulin spikes and crashes. Use wholegrain products.
F) Energy drinks
What can we say about these? They are packed with caffeine, and make you nervous. Let’s not forget the sugar. These products increase your risk of depression, and cause insomnia.
Alcohol affects the natural sleep cycle and the restorative phases of sleep. You may sleep many hours, but you won’t feel rested. This affects positive thinking and mood disorders.
5. Foods to eat
Cut down junk food and eat healthy foods. Stick to the following daily guide, and you will be great:
• 5 servings of vegetables
• 2 servings of fruit
• Whole grains
• Legumes and nuts
• Oily fish (omega-3 fatty acids)
• Meat (small amounts)
• Olive oil (small amounts)
This looks pretty much like a Mediterranean diet regimen. Believe it or not, people who live in the Mediterranean have great brain function and lower risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Eat brightly colored fruits and veggies. Antioxidants prevent free radical damage and premature aging. They prevent oxidative stress and reduce brain inflammation.
B) Omega-3 fatty acids
Good fats prevent degenerative diseases, and increase the excretion of the happy hormone.
C) Complex carbs
Complex carbs are found in whole grains, veggies, and fruits. They give you energy and regulate blood sugar.
D) Probiotics and prebiotics
Yogurt, cheeses and other fermented foods increase the number of good bacteria in your gut. Friendly bacteria help the brain receive messages, improving the handling of stress and releasing good emotions.
Prebiotics and probiotics have a similar effect to antidepressants as they affect the same neurological paths as those drugs. They are able to relieve the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Amino acids increase alertness and energy, while relieving the symptoms of depression. Tryptophan improves the production of serotonine. Chicken, turkey, lean beef, soy, milk, beans, fish, peas and other foods contain a lot of protein.
Make smart choices when it comes to picking your next meal. Fill up your plate with healthy and organic ingredients, and avoid pretty much everything that has been made in factories. Cook your own food and take care of your health.