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Surprising Eating Habits That Cause Depression and Mood Disorders

By maintaining the balance of healthy, mentally stimulating foods when considering the dangers of eating habits that cause depression and mood disorders, you might be able to curtail the emotions before they start to swing.

Despite what you may think, while ignoring that feeling of absolute joy received when satisfying the sound of your rumbling belly, food cravings and the level to which you spoil them can have direct repercussions on your overall mental health. Living with a mental disorder, of any kind, can be debilitating and can change your appetite just like your mood. Eating disorders can sometimes play a part, but that's not always the case, nor can it always be so accurately defined. Our emotions and their controlling functions are still relatively unknown. In other words, everyone—all 7 or so billion of us on the planet—have different quirks and set offs. Before making any conclusions or taking any type of medication, speak to a doctor, therapist, or trained professional and get the real inside scoop on what's causing your mental strain. 

For the most part, our very own dietary intake can be tweaked in such a way that can benefit the onset of mood disorders. When you really think about it, this all makes sense. I'm not just talking about reading food labels, keeping a protein journal, or annoyingly asking the waitress to return red meat when you ordered turkey — no, I'm talking about cutting back on things like alcohol, fast food, and extreme amounts of sugar. It's true, you can't fix someone who won't fix themselves, so start today. Here's a great Bad Food Chart to follow if you ever find yourself at an utter loss when deciding on healthier meal options, but more to the point, the following are eating habits that cause depression and mood disorders. 

Coffee, Energy Drinks, and Caffeine

Personally, I feel that one of the most difficult obstacles we all must face when amending eating habits that cause depression and mood disorders is supplementing caffeine for more beneficial energy boosters. You don't need a Five Hour Energy at 10 PM, nor do you need a venti chi latte with double extra honey syrup topped with crumb cakes and a double dose of depression symptoms. 

Stop wasting boatloads of money on coffee and caffeinated beverages and start supplementing your fix with more beneficial energy and awareness boosters, like pomegranate juice or black teas. Even drinking more water, upwards of a gallon a day, can greatly reduce the chances of depression symptoms, boost emotional levels, and make you more aware by way of literally cleansing your system from the inside. 

Binge Eating

WebMD even has their own article on how binge eating causes depression. It's a serious matter that not only affects your appetites and moods, but also hurts your physical appearance. No one likes being called too large for their own skin, especially if one's undergoing eating habits that cause depression and mood disorders. 

One thing to denote about binge eating is that nearly half of those who practice it have depression, and still even those who don't show signs of depression have had a history of depression before. If you're one of the few out there who believes that eating and mood fluctuations aren't connected, you're sorely incorrect. 

Refined Carbohydrates

Researchers at Columbia University recently began a study to see if refined carbohydrates were connected to mental health issues. By using data taken from the Women's Health Initiative, which is examining over 70,000 women over a prolonged period of time, their results had proved that refined carbs do directly effect moods, as women were much more at risk of depression symptoms when maintaining high blood sugar levels from refined grains and sugar. 

In fact, their conclusive evidence has proven that women who eat more produce and whole grains promoted mental health, therefore decreasing the likelihood of depression simply by changing the what they ate. Published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, their final analysis has unlocked some insightful answers into the correction of eating habits that cause depression and mood disorders. Cutting back on fatty, processed foods will be greatly more beneficial to your mental health in the long run.

Extreme Sugar Overloads

Let me tell you a little something about the food industry: practically everything you consume has some amount of sugar in it. That's fine, sugar is in fact good for your body and mental health. Chocolate, when eaten in small doses, can directly combat eating habits that cause depression and mood disorders by inciting emotions like warmth, happiness and joy.

Too much sugar, though, then you're in a pretty pickle, my friend. Too much sugar can lead to a major emotional decline—and I'm not talking like an elevator, I'm talking the world's largest roller coaster kind of decline. You want proof? There's not just one, there's four ways sugar could be harming your mental health.

Artificial Sweeteners

Anything that has artificial in its name probably isn't something you want to put inside your body. Most eating habits that cause depression and mood disorders stem from the wrong type of nutritional diet. Swapping your sugars with artificial sweeteners is just asking for a bad mood. 

To top this off, foods and beverages with artificial sweeteners as ingredients are sure to only worsen their effects on you, especially if your cravings are only jumpstarted in their favor. This includes diet sodas, which carry sweeteners that can block serotonin productions. Serotonin directly effects your mood, so instead of drinking these artificial sweeteners to benefit your body, instead quit them to benefit your mind. 

Salted Nuts and Seeds

But wait! I thought nuts and seeds were really, really good for the body? As did we all, but as it so happens too many salty ingredients can lead to poor emotional health and even may be cause for mood swings and headaches. Knowing a perfect balance of fatty acids and quality nutrients is one way to steer clear from the many eating habits that cause depression and mood disorders. 

Yes, nuts are great because they have a host of nutrients and vitamins, like omega-3 fatty acids, but that pales in comparison to other unhealthy ingredients, such as GMOs, canola oils, and increased amounts of sodium. To better situate your body and mood to more enlightening foods, I recommend staying away from store bought, additive-filled nuts and seeds. Try eating more raw cashews and natural forms of nuts for a mood healthy diet. 

Agave Nectar

While I may not have personally heard of this delectable substitute for corn syrup, which will always be bad for you, agave nectar apparently sprouted out of nowhere sometime recently and is making headway, despite the fact that it's one of many eating habits that cause depression and mood disorders. 

Agave nectar, like practically anything found on shelves nowadays, must go through a strict process that strips it of anything purely nutritional, like agave juice. Top that off with the fact that agave has high amounts of fructose, the worst type of sugar around, it's safe to say that agave may not be so safe after all. Agave syrup can also increase the chances of metabolic syndrome, a problematic condition that carries within itself obesity, high blood pressure, and even insulin resistance, all of which can lead to a pretty bad mood if left unchecked. 

Processed Foods

Processed foods, more commonly known as canned foods, often wield chemicals like Bisphenol-A (BPA), which can have some disrupting qualities to hormones in younger children. A study done by Yale and Guelph Universities has shown that BPA is linked to depression, and can also slow down your brain synapses. The study conducted on monkeys displayed how even small doses of BPA can have catastrophic effects on the mind and one's mood. 

Most commonly found in plastics, BPA is a byproduct of canned goods that should be avoided at all costs. According to the study, boys ages 10-12 who have been exposed to BPA have shown more symptoms of depression then those who haven't. If you're among those who have canned foods on your grocery list, it should be erased, since they're among eating habits that cause depression and mood disorders. 

Non-Organic Anything

While a fully organic diet would be most ideal, it's also highly unlikely. Organic foods, while enriched with the healthiest ingredients, are also extremely expensive. It should come as no surprise that overindulging in nonorganic foods is among eating habits that cause depression and mood disorders. 

One way to amend this tricky dietary setback is by consuming more organic fruits and vegetables, which are devoid of the harmful chemicals like atrazine, which is sprayed on crops to genetically modify their makeup. These neurotoxins can have debilitating consequences for your history of depression, possibly even effecting your gut flora with nasty bacteria. If you didn't know before, know you do: your mood and gut have connective qualities, so if one feels good the other likewise feels good, and vise versa. 

Simple Carbs

While extreme amounts of and refined carbs can be cause for concern when dealing with the eating habits that cause depression and mood disorders, simple carbs can directly effect your energy levels. This almost like when an eating disorder comes to life, so avoid simple carbs like white bread and cookies as best as you can. 

If you were unsure, this lack of energy brought on by a spike in blood sugar can eventually lead to mental, emotional, and physical fatigue when left untreated, and it can become even more difficult to amend when left unchecked. In order to stray away from this, eat more whole-grain foods to receive a more quality flow of energy.

Alcohol

Depression: It's a bitch. To cope, most people will often turn to alcohol for either advice, or maybe some rediscovered sense of reality. While this may be great for some, it tends to have the opposite effect. Like anything, too much of it can lead to poor conditions of health, and when it comes to alcohol, this is dramatically heightened. Some alcohol may be good for you, like red wine is for depression, but that's not always the case. 

In fact, alcohol helps to boost stress and anxiety, as it is a depressant that works like a sedative. Alcohol suppresses excitatory neurotransmitters that basically makes your mind slow down its thinking process. Too much alcohol leads to poor emotional health and unnerving moods, which is why it's among eating habits that cause depression and mood disorders. Start drinking a little less, like 5-7 glasses a week can actually be good for you. 

Trans Fats

Wow, I can't believe it's not butter! Well, guess what? Since it isn't actually butter, you're now directly harming your body and could potentially damage your mood levels. Trans fat, like those found in olive oil and margarine, can actually have some damaging qualities and are among eating habits that cause depression and mood disorders. 

As I said previously, anything that is artificial or has artificial ingredients is probably not good for you. In the case of trans fat, which can clog your arteries, a 48 percent increase in depression has been found by PLOS ONE's published study. There's also an increase in stuff like omega-6 fatty acids and inflammation producing fats that should be avoided by eating grass-fed butters, or even ghee, which makes for a perfect stand-in ingredient.  

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