The food you eat can have a surprising effect on your mood states, and if you’re dealing with depression, there are dietary factors that can exacerbate your symptoms. There’s a complex interplay between diet and depression, and you might unknowingly be eating foods that make depression worse. Avoiding certain foods can work as a natural remedy for depression symptoms.

Diet and Depression: Food Can Affect Your Mood

Making a few changes to your diet can work as a natural depression remedy, improving your mood and energy levels while reducing negative emotions. The brain and digestive system are closely connected via the nervous system, and eating the wrong foods can have negative long-term effects on your ability to overcome depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders.

Changes to your diet can work as a natural remedy for depression, helping promote healthy regulation of your emotions by affecting the brain and metabolism. Things like blood glucose spikes from sugary or high-carb foods can cause a dip in your mood, even though depression can lead your body to crave the brief “sugar high” from unhealthy junk foods. This relationship between diet and depression can make a bad day even worse.

You can reduce symptoms of depression naturally by eliminating certain foods from your diet. It’s also better for your physical health and for promoting an efficient metabolism, helping boost your energy levels on a daily basis.

5 Foods That Make Depression Worse

Here are 5 common foods that you might want to avoid if you’re looking for natural solutions for depression:

  1. Refined sugar.

    Sugary foods like candy and ice cream can give your body a fast energy boost, but this effect is very short-lived. When you eat refined sugar, your blood glucose levels can increase rapidly. Afterward, they crash back to normal, which leads to unpleasant emotional states and mental fatigue. Western diets tend to be high in refined sugar, and it’s in a lot of places where you might not expect it. Fast food burgers may be savory, but the buns and condiments are full of sugar and high fructose corn syrup. By staying mindful of the ingredients of the foods you eat, you can reduce your sugar intake substantially to help improve your depression symptoms naturally. It will also reduce your risk of obesity, diabetes, and other health problems.

  2. Aspartame.

    Aspartame is a common artificial sweetener. It can actually interfere with your brain’s production of serotonin, an important neurotransmitter that regulates mood. People with depression already suffer from serotonin imbalances, and aspartame can make it worse. It’s actually better to use either a small amount of real sugar, or alternatives like Splenda.

  3. Simple carbohydrates.

    Like refined sugar, simple carbs can lead your blood glucose to spike, then crash. White bread, white pasta, and other simple carbohydrates are processed by the body in similar ways to sugary cakes and candies. It’s better to opt for whole-grain alternatives, which are tasty and easy to find at your local grocery store.

  4. High-sodium foods.

    Sodium is in almost everything, even unsuspecting places like diet soft drinks. Excess sodium can disrupt your brain function, contributing to low moods and negative emotional states. It can also have negative effects on your immune system and sleep cycles.

  5. Trans fats.

    Trans fats are present in hydrogenated oils, and recent research has shown that a diet high in trans fats is linked to an elevated risk of depression.

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