Do Unhealthy Foods Really Cause Depression and Anxiety?

Although fast food may not actually make you suicidal (hopefully not), and funnel cakes at the fair won’t cause you to literally burst into tears on the spot, these kinds of foods are not ideal for you on any level.
Too much of these heavy, unhealthy foods could make you unlikeable and irritable – not only to yourself, but everyone around you. Extensive research reveals that what you eat travels straight into your limbic system, the primary emotional headquarters of the body.
Basically, if you feed your body junk, you’ll feel like junk. On the other hand, if you treat your body with kindness in terms of healthy foods, it will reply in kind – in the form of energy.
So, the old saying holds true – “You are what you eat.”
Here are seven foods you should clearly avoid in order to feel good both inside and out:
1. Refined Simple Sugars
A sugar hangover can sometimes be just as painful as an alcohol-induced hangover. All that refined sugar causes glucose levels in your blood to plunge, leading to a gloomy sugar hangover that not only disturbs your mood, but causes sleep disorders and greatly depletes your energy levels.

2. Hydrogenated Oils
Here’s another product that excites your taste buds, but you should avoid at all costs. Stay clear of foods such as greasy French fries, fried chicken, fried calamari, and fried cheese sticks. Anything cooked with hydrogenated oils contains trans fats that could potentially be a factor in producing depression. Something else to be aware of is saturated fats, typically found in various animal products like butter, high-fat dairy, and deli meats. They are notorious for clogging arteries and preventing proper blood flow to the brain.
3. Artificial Sweeteners
Aspartame is bad stuff no matter how you look at it, particularly for people who are prone to depression. Not only does it block the natural production of the neurotransmitter serotonin, it generates mood swings, insomnia, and sometimes headaches. Both artificial sweeteners – Equal or NutraSweet, aren’t exactly healthy for the human body either. If you must have a soda, go for the gusto. While not a health food, refined sugar is actually better for you than the fake stuff, although Splenda and Stevia appear to be somewhat safer than the rest.
4. Alcohol
Alcohol naturally depresses the central nervous system. So, anyone with a known history of mood disorders should proceed with caution when it comes to alcohol. Alcohol slows down the process of reasoning, interpreting information through the senses, and controlling emotion.

5. Processed Foods
Consuming foods with processed or refined carbohydrates such as processed cereals, white bread, pasta, and most snack foods, will have the same effect on your blood sugar as if you just ate an entire bag of M&Ms. After the initial boost of insulin, you’ll eventually end up feeling like the junk you just ate along with feeling irritated, tired, and depressed.

6. Sodium-rich Foods
People tend to eat fat-free foods thinking they’ll keep their waistlines small, but forgetting the emotional downside of eating those kinds of foods. Foods with excess sodium can literally disrupt your neurological system, which adds to depression and negatively impacts your immune system causing extreme fatigue. Salt is a known culprit in bloating and fluid retention – that alone is depressing.
7. Caffeine
According to researchers, even the tiniest amount of caffeine in your system can lead to anxiety and depression. Caffeine disrupts the body’s natural sleep cycle making it much more difficult to fall asleep and to also remain asleep. Obviously, a lack of sleep contributes to mood – and not in a good way. Some commercial energy drinks contain as much caffeine as 14 cans of soda.
If you’re prone to depression or mood swings, stay clear of these kinds of foods. They’re bad for you both inside and out.