We’ve already written about mood-enhancing products. But, as it turns out, they have dangerous antipodes: certain foods and drinks can increase stress, increase feelings of anxiety and anxiety, and even symptoms of depression. We will tell you what products you should be careful with.
The point is, of course, in caffeine, which literally spurs our nervous system, and also helps the release of adrenaline and the stress hormone cortisol. In itself, this is not scary (in small doses, these hormones are even useful), but if you drink coffee too often, and especially if you accompany it with other drinks and products containing caffeine (for example, chocolate or energy drinks), at some point an overdose may occur …
Strictly speaking, they should be abandoned altogether: in most energy drinks, the concentration of caffeine is too high. And this can be dangerous not only for mental but also for physical health. For example, a 2016 review of energy drink research published in the Journal of Caffeine Research confirmed the link between energy drink consumption and symptoms of mental health problems such as anxiety, stress, and depression.
And according to the American College of Cardiology, the use of energy drinks is associated with increased heart rate and blood pressure, as well as changes in the electrical activity of the heart, even with strokes and seizures, not to mention anxiety and even psychosis.
And also white rice and pasta – in short, any foods that are high in fast carbs and added sugar. All of these foods dramatically increase blood glucose levels, and when the spike is followed by an inevitable drop, we experience anxiety attacks. The fact is that sugar affects the pleasure center, and when the dose ends, we unconsciously experience frustration and anxiety. If at the same time our level of anxiety is increased or we are experiencing depression, it can be really dangerous.
Carbonated sweet drinks
Two in one: a lot of caffeine and a lot of sugar. Plus fast delivery of both into the bloodstream thanks to the gas itself. Even if you have a perfectly strong nervous system and do not have health problems, it is better to refuse these drinks altogether: they are dangerous to health no less than alcohol, cigarettes, and a sedentary lifestyle.
The less cocoa in your chocolate, the more sugar there is – which is bad. But the more cocoa, the higher the caffeine content — and that’s not good either. Can’t give up your favorite sweets? Prefer dark chocolate that is high in cocoa (and sugar-free if possible), but do not wash it down with tea or coffee.
French fries, donuts, chicken nuggets, and other foods that are deep-fried or high in oil can actually cause depression in their own right, at least according to the American Anxiety and Depression Association. Most likely, the mechanism is the same as with light carbohydrates: a sharp jump in blood sugar and an equally rapid drop. Don’t take risks.
Even harmless treats can increase stress and worsen symptoms of depression.