Diet and mood swings: foods to avoid

Diet and mood swings: foods to avoid


At the table, as is known, one contributes not only to satisfying the palate and taste , but also to physical and psychological well-being . Several studies would have shown that there are some foods that could promote and increase a bad mood . There is also talk of sudden and objectively harmful mood swings for general health.

Subjects suffering from depression or prone to negative moods, sadness, anxiety , could find a form of consolation in food, however not at all beneficial. In fact, there is a tendency to increase quantities and not pay attention to the quality of the foods consumed.

The recommendations, in general, are to always observe a healthy and varied diet, as well as appropriate to one’s lifestyle. It is also important to consider which foods can be good for your mood, thus avoiding particularly refined foods rich in fat, as well as fried foods and excess sugar , caffeine and alcoholic beverages which can favor sudden mood swings.

Bad mood: foods to avoid

  • Coffee
  • Alcohol
  • Foods containing glutamine and therefore glutamate
  • Foods containing tyramine , therefore sausages , red meats , processed meats, soy sauce
  • High fat foods high in cholesterol and  saturated fat
  • Excess of sugars and carbohydrates

Diet and bad mood

The first category of foods which, perhaps surprisingly, exacerbate mood swings and promote depressive and negative states after an initial moment of excitement, are sugars. In reality, a piece of dark chocolate is beneficial and increases endorphins , but exceeding with packaged foods, desserts rich in refined sugar such as snacks and industrial cakes could cause the opposite effect.

To be considered are the glycemic peaks , and  the sudden changes in the level of glucose in the blood which would favor a bad mood and even depression. Foods in which Tyramine is present, an amine derived from the amino acid  tyrosine, present in sausages and red meats, should be considered in the same way.

Even the high intake of  glutamate  – another  amino acid  that acts as an exciting neurotransmitter  , as well as a  food additive  used as a  flavor enhancer present, for example in sauces and cooking stock cubes – can cause the alteration and worsening of the tone of the mood ,

Mood-boosting foods

There are foods which, contrary to those listed so far, help to counteract the phases in which one is feeling low, and to promote a good mood. They are:

  • Bananas : the content of B vitamins , mineral salts (especially potassium ), probiotics and tryptophan , help relieve stress ;
  • Dark chocolate : contains prebiotics , antioxidants and tryptophan, and stimulates the release of hormones related to emotion (endorphins, phenylethylamine, serotonin ). natural anti depressant;
  • Lentils : contain folic acid and magnesium , and gamma-aminobutyric acid (which reduces anxiety);
  • Blueberries : rich in antioxidants and vitamins ;
  • Walnuts : contain vitamin E , folate , magnesium, melatonin and omega 3 ), reduce emotional tension and are natural neuroprotectors;
  • Sweet Potato : Increases levels of dehydroepiandrosterone and serotonin, the feel-good hormones.
  • Tomatoes : vitamins, phosphorus and potassium, are accompanied by lycopene , a true antidepressant ;
  • Spinach : vitamin C and magnesium, promote the production of serotonin and dopamine , the good mood hormones
  • Yogurt is rich in probiotics which stimulate the production of positive hormones.

Ideal nutrition

  • Normocaloric diet and monitored by a specialist
  • Moderate caffeine consumption
  • Free of alcohol
  • Minimize the amounts of foods that contain histamine , glutamine  , and tyramine
  • Correctly divided into macronutrients
  • Rich in  omega3 essential fatty acids
  • Consumption of vegetables , legumes , dried fruit , yogurt, extra virgin olive oil
  • Diet low in cholesterol and saturated fat
  • Physical activity on a regular basis.

The ideal diet is always represented by the Mediterranean diet , which includes the regular consumption of vegetables, dried fruit, extra virgin olive oil , fish , legumes and foods rich in antioxidants . Prefer foods containing good amounts of  omega 3 . The consumption of sweets should be limited, as well as that of packaged snacks and carbonated drinks .

Nutrition and depression: correlations

There is therefore a correlation between diet and bad mood, but also depressive states. First of all, low-calorie diets  are an important risk factor for the onset of depression, especially after taking  anorectic drugs ; this has negative effects on emotions and behavior.

Excessive consumption of coffee  and  alcohol in the diet can also negatively affect depression, as there is a tendency to abuse. Coffee, it should be underlined, has a psychostimulant action and its repercussions on the nervous system (therefore on depression) are evident.

Consumption of coffee is not prohibited, but 2-3 cups a day should not be exceeded , and never in the evening hours. In the same way, because of the nervine, excessive quantities of alcoholic beverages should not be consumed , since their disinhibiting action has negative effects on the emotional state of the depressed subject.

Here’s what the decalogue on nutrition provides .



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