7 Foods that are scientifically proven to put you in a terrible mood
There’s a reason our stomachs are sometimes called our second brains. Our gut produces about 90 percent of our serotonin, the chemical responsible for making us feel good. Rachel Kelly has all the tea on the issue - she is a mental health advocate and author of "The Happiness Diet", and is the best person to help us stay calm and upbeat. Here are seven foods that are scientifically proven to put you in a terrible mood.
1. Diet drinks
Aspartame, the artificial sweetener in your beloved Diet Coke, contains an amino acid called phenylalanine. In some scientific studies, phenylalanine has been shown to hinder our production of serotonin (the happy neurotransmitter that regulates mood). You (and your mood) are better off getting your caffeine fix from black iced tea or coffee.
2. Cereals and snack bars
There’s no need to avoid these guys altogether, but make sure you compare labels and go with one that has eight grams of sugar or less. Many brands contain mountains of sugar, which provides a temporary energy boost swiftly followed by a crash. When our blood sugar levels dip below normal, stress hormones are released, leading to mood swings.
3. Packaged sweets
It’s no secret that sugar is a culprit (though no - the occasional doughnut isn’t going to kill you). But store-bought sweets are also often made with artificial colors, which have been linked to reduced attention spans and hyperactivity - particularly in children. So if you’re going to splurge, you’re better off going to your local bakery than raiding the convenience store aisles.
4. Fast food
That order of massive fries is rich in trans fats. The partially hydrogenated oils extend the shelf life of most fast foods but also disturb your balance of omega-3s. Research from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center suggests that low levels of the fatty acid are associated with pessimism, depression, and aggression.
Even the humble cockroach won’t eat margarine. It’s basically pure trans fat, which, as we’ve mentioned above, prevents you from being a pleasant human. Same goes for shortening. We hope you weren’t cooking with it, but if you were, reach for the real butter instead.
6. Salty snacks
Check the ingredient list the next time you open a bag of chips or canister of peanuts. Many contain MSG (or monosodium glutamate), a flavour enhancer commonly found in processed foods, which can give you a terrible headache and cause you to feel weak and fatigued.
7. Canned food
Canned beans and soups can also hide MSG and excess sodium, but if you’re feeling a slump after your bowl of chicken noodle, check the label again. Look for BPA-free cans. Some studies, like this one from the Yale School of Medicine, have shown it interferes with areas of the brain that regulate mood and formation of memory which sounds terrifying. Wait, what was I talking about again?
On top of that, you can up your exercise and make sure you're trying to have a balanced and a varied lifestyle in order to help keep the blues away.