Are you prone to the type of mood swings that have your coworkers running for cover when you enter the office or your spouse walking on eggshells at home? It shouldn’t surprise you that your diet may be responsible for your emotional extremes—crying one moment; losing your temper the next.
Here are 10 bad-mood causing foods you may want to avoid…
Need a kick in the sluggish pants? Grab a java. You’ll feel a quick rush, the result of an adrenaline release via your pituitary gland. However, if you overdo the caffeine, you’ll suffer the consequences of jitters, anxiety, accelerated heart rate, perspiration, lack of focus, and major mood swings.
2. Potato Chips
The couch potato’s number one food choice for a reason—potato chips might start with vegetables, but they quickly turn evil when fried in saturated oils and covered in salt. In fact, the unhealthy oils used to process chips are liked to lower brain activity and negative moods. It doesn’t help that fried foods like these contain a toxic carcinogen called acrylamide, which is produced in the deep-frying process.
3. Processed Lunch Meats
Bringing your lunch to work or school is a healthy habit, but your responsibility goes far beyond just stuffing a brown paper bag with a sandwich. Look inside; if you choose to put packaged meats—like ham, bologna, sausage, or hotdogs—in between your bun of choice, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Processed meats like these contain high levels of energy-sucking, mood-altering nitrates, food colorings, preservatives, and additives that cause wicked headaches, low moods, and water retention (bloating).
We can clear up the “which is healthier margarine vs. butter?” debate in an instant. The short answer: margarine is the more unhealthy option. The long answer—margarine contains processed fats, which compared to natural-occurring fats (i.e., olive oil and avocado) cause insulin imbalances, mood swings, weight gain, and increase the risk of heart attacks.
5. French Fries
Put down the French fries! Unless they’ve been baked with olive oil on a pizza stone in your oven, (no, chances are those take out fries are not) I’m guessing that golden fried salty goodness you’re addicted to is thanks to unhealthy saturated fats, dangerous levels of sodium, and refined carbohydrates. Not only do processed and deep fried foods take a long time to digest, they weigh down your body, causing bloating and the inevitable fast food coma.
If you’re like most Americans, you’d be ashamed to raise a glass to the fact that you consume roughly 600 sodas a year. Loaded with refine sugar that turn to body fat almost instantaneously, sugary sodas cause a mood spike followed by a mood crash due to severely low blood sugar.
7. Snack Peanuts
Sure, it’s hard resist a salty handful of packaged peanuts at the pub. However, despite the protein contained within, it’s hard to find good in that grubby handful of salt and food additives, which lead to migraines, breathing difficulties, and sodium-infused bloating.
The idea is so habitual—grabbing a bagel at your local café on the way to the office. However, bagels, even the whole-wheat kind, are really not that healthy. The other breakfast favorite with the hole in the center is wrought with fast-burning carbohydrates, the kind that cause a quick spike in blood sugar and a dramatic sugar crash shortly after, which affects your focus, energy, and causes equally dramatic mood swings.
9. Baked Goods
Cookies, snack cakes, donuts, and muffins might offer a quick comfort food option when you suffer a mid-afternoon snack attack. But these goodies are jam-packed with vegetable shortening, saturated oils, and refined sugars, otherwise known as empty calories that will leave you lethargic, unfocused, and lead to weight gain if you partake regularly. For a natural sugar rush, look to fresh fruit instead.
10. Sugar-Free Drink Mixes
Many of us opt for sugar-free drink mixes in order to stay slim and consume less sugar. However, these little packs of powder or liquids containing additives and aspartame aren’t much better than sugary sodas. Believe me, a sugar-free drink habit will likely lead down the path of weight gain and the inevitable roller up-and-down roller coaster of bad-moods.