You’ve heard about superfoods that boost your brain power and refuel your energy, right? Well, on the other side of the coin are foods that can actually be bad for your brain or emotional wellbeing. Here are five emotionally toxic foods to cut from your diet.
1. Sugary Snacks
It might feel comforting to dig into a sugar-packed snack when you’re feeling down, but although everyone mentions the weight dangers associated with sugar, it’s important to know that sugar can also affect your brain functioning. Research conducted by the University of California found that sugar produces free radicals in the membrane of the brain as well as decreases the ability of nerve cells to communicate. What this does is affect our ability to process ideas, have mood stability and remember instructions.
2. Nitrate-Rich Foods
Packaged meats, such as deli meats or hotdogs, contain nitrates. These are chemical compounds that can have a bad effect on your health. Nitrates cause tension or stress headaches, bad moods and even more serious illnesses such as cancer. Cut nitrate foods out of your diet and remember to top up on Vitamin C-rich foods, such as peppers and strawberries, which contain antioxidants that decrease the conversion of nitrates in the body.
3. White Bread
Linked to depression, processed foods such as white bread and pasta make your blood sugar levels spike and then crash. When the insulin boost wears off, the result is that you feel down, lethargic or irritated. Since they’re often high in artificial additives and fat, without containing nutritious value, processed foods also increase cortisol levels in the body which actually increase stress.
4. Potato Crisps
Also highly processed, potato crisps are best avoided even though popping open a bag of them is tempting. Their high omega-6 content can block omega-3 fatty acids that work to improve your mood, with the result that you feel depressed. The next time a craving strikes, rather choose to eat something healthier and even more comforting, such as baked fresh potatoes.
5. Aged Cheese
Everyone wants to get a good night’s sleep before a busy day, so stay away from foods that zap your ability to head for dreamland. These foods include aged cheese, such as Romano, Asiago and Parmesan. Although they’re tasty, they contain large quantities of tyramine, an amino acid that’s linked to insomnia. It could also give you migraine headaches because it causes blood vessels to dilate.
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