When stressed, many of us turn to certain foods that help us calm down. But, the foods we resort to — a cup of strong coffee or sugary treats– do not necessarily fall under the healthy category. Agreed Dr Uma Naidoo, a Harvard nutritional psychiatrist, who recently took to Instagram and said, “When we’re stressed, we often choose the convenient foods to fit our schedule. However, these foods usually contain ingredients that worsen your stress levels.”
All these foods might satiate the taste buds, but are highly processed and can lead to gas, acidity, and inflammation. In fact, “inflammation is the number one cause of a mental illness, so it’s so important to minimise it,” Dr Naidoo added.
Below, she shares nine foods one needs to stay away from whenever you are upset or stressed.
Caffeine, when consumed in a regulated manner is good for the body, but more than two cups can cause inflammation. It can also lead to increased stress levels and make you feel anxious by “wreaking havoc on your adrenal glands,” said the doctor.
As the name suggests, they are full of preservatives such as nitrates and sulfites. “They disrupt gut health and have been linked to mood shifts,” she added.
If you are trying to lose extra kilos, this is surely not the best item to consume. Also, it shouldn’t be on your list because it spikes up blood sugar levels and causes inflammation in the stomach, which is a result of slow digestion. This happens because “processed carbs are stripped of fiber.”
“It’s almost always full of sugar and refined carbs and will spike your blood sugar, leaving you on an emotional rollercoaster for the rest of the day,” said Dr Naidoo.
This is a big no and you have to be conscious of consuming sugar because it is often hidden in our everyday foods. Sugar imbalances your gut by killing good bacteria. In order to keep your gut healthy, incorporate these foods into your diet because our mental health is significantly connected to our gut health.
Processed veg oil
While Omega-3 fatty acid is good for our health, processed veg oil contains the bad kind which is inflammatory in nature and can affect the stomach.
“Even without the sugar in many alcoholic beverages, alcohol is well known to disrupt the gut lining and be linked to depression,” she said.
Once you begin consuming artificial sweeteners, it is only downhill from there because they disrupt the gut microbiome.
“Besides the sugar, dark sodas contain phosphoric acid, which competes with magnesium absorption, an essential nutrient for mental health,” she concluded.