Too much caffeine can quickly turn a good day into a bad one, but it’s not just strong stimulants that have a big effect on the way you think and feel. Plenty of foods can alter your mood for the worse, particularly if you eat them in large portions.
Find out more about the foods that ruin your mood, and why you should make sure that they’re not a big part of your diet. From processed foods to seemingly natural ones, here are the foods and drinks that can ruin your mood and affect your health.
Most cured meats have a high content of sugar and salt, but processed meats are also dangerous because of their high content of nitrate preservatives. Even if the meat doesn’t come from a factory farm where animals have been pumped with antibiotics, nitrates and nitrites can cause cause migraines and have a negative impact on your mood.
Fruits and Vegetables with Pesticide Residue
Some of the worst foods that ruin your mood contain traces of neurotoxins, and that’s exactly what many pesticides contain. They can increase the risk of feeling depressed and you can only avoid them by eating organic produce. According to the Environmental Working Group, the fruits and vegetables that contain the most pesticide residue include: apples, peaches, nectarines, strawberries, grapes, celery, spinach, sweet bell peppers, cucumbers and cherry tomatoes.
Even without any caffeine that causes your energy levels to go up for a while, then crash, soda has plenty of other dangers for your mood. Sugar is the biggest problem, and you can experience mood swings once the rush wears off, but sugar-free sodas and energy drinks are also packed with artificial sweeteners and preservatives that can alter your mood for the worse.
Saturated fats in French fries and burgers, are also some of the worst foods that ruin your mood, and they also increase the risk of heart disease. Monounsaturated fats (olive oil) and polyunsaturated fats (omega 3-s) have the opposite effect. So if you’re preparing your food with extra fats, make the right choice. Or skip the fried foods altogether in favor of grilling, baking, roasting or steaming.
See also: 10 Good Reasons to Give Up Coffee
Omega-6 fatty acids, present in most saturated fats, have been proven to cause unwanted mood issues, including depression and hyperactivity. Potato chips are usually filled with them, and they also have a very high content of sodium. Do yourself a favor and bake potatoes to handle your cravings instead of eating then fried or heavily processed.
The refined vegetable oil that makes up margarine also had very high levels of omega-6s. Margarine is one of the foods that ruin your mood, but high levels of omega-6 fatty acids can also cause problems when it comes to your insulin levels. Butter from grass-fed cows is much healthier, in moderation, than margarine.
Since it’s almost glucose free but still tasty because of it’s high fructose content, agave nectar has been promoted as a healthier sweeter than sugar. However, high fructose levels have a dangerous effect on your body, even if they don’t raise blood sugar levels right away. They can tamper with your mood while also increasing the risk of developing metabolic syndrome. You’re better off with honey when you want a natural sweetener.
From white bread to muffins and bagels, a large portion of refined carbs is as bad as eating a few spoonfuls of sugar. Your energy levels will rise, and the unpleasantly drop, because anything with lots of refined carbs belongs on the list of foods that ruin your mood.
Peanuts and Pumpkin Seeds
If you roast them yourself, and add a bit of sea salt and rosemary, pumpkin seeds and peanuts are delicious and healthy. However, eating the packaged variety is bad for your mood, from artificial flavoring that causes migraines to potassium bromate, which messes with iodine absorption by the thyroid, causing depression.
Since it’s high in omega-3 fatty acids, just like saturated fat, soy yogurt is one of the foods that ruin your mood, and it’s heavily processed.