Diet Affecting Your Mental Health? Here are Foods That Can Give You the Blues

Do you find yourself reaching for that bag of cookies when you are depressed? Well, it might have been the cookies and the other food in your diet that began this cycle of depression.

Food and depression are directly related because the nourishment that you put into your body affects the functions of your brain cells.

Stressed woman

So, if you want to have a healthy mind, begin with quality food choices. You may find that your diet is the cause and the solution to those days of sadness.

Here are the types of food to avoid if you are suffering from the blues.


It should be no surprise that sugar is at the top of the list of foods to avoid when depressed. That is because sugar acts like a drug in your body.

No one has an easy relationship with sugar. Once you eat something sugary, your body always asks for more. And the worst part is that sugar can be found in almost every type of food.

From juice to pasta, in today’s diet, sugar is not limited to desserts. Not only does it add flavor to a dish, but it also makes you eat more and want that food again. This keeps regular customers, but it is making you depressed.

Besides the noticeable need for sugar, it also affects you internally. First, it is a highly inflammatory substance. Inflammation causes high blood pressure, which can lead to insulin resistance and diabetes.

It also throws off the balance of bacteria (gut microbiome) in your stomach and intestines leading to inflammation as well.

Intake of sugar can also affect your hormones as the chemical for regulating stress, cortisol, is activated when sugar levels begin to drop. This causes depression and an addictive need for more sugar.

Lastly, sugar can make the brain feel satisfied while really depriving it of essential nutrients for cell health. This leads to damaged blood vessels and membranes, which leads to imbalances and ultimately, depression.

Pesticides and GMOs

Food allergies and depression are a result of the modification of your food. Non-organic food dosed with pesticides is toxic while GMOs contain altered DNA. Both are unnatural and your body knows it.

Pesticides can block food nutrients like amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. In addition, they can change hormone production and even disrupt DNA development leading to birth and growth defects, as well as cancer.

GMOs are laced with pesticides like glyphosate, which is very commonly used in soy and wheat products.

How does this relate to foods that cause depression? Shown most predominantly among farmers, pesticide exposure has been linked to disruption of enzymes and the nervous system, leading to allergic reactions and severe depression.

Processed Food

When you think of what foods cause depression, think about nutritional value. Processed foods may seem healthy if they contain vegetables and fruit, but the production actually ruins their nutritional benefits.

Quick frozen meals, canned food, and even fast food may be an easy way to fill your stomach, but the lack of vitamins and minerals act similar to sugar. They’re empty calories that leave the brain and gut deficient.

Food without sufficient nutrients leads to inflammation, which is a common cause of depression.

If you are not sure if you are suffering from depression, then you can find other symptoms and treatments for depression by seeking professional help.

Trans fats

Clogging your arteries with fried dishes and high-fat oils are also common foods that make you depressed.

Studies have shown that these unhealthy fats change the biological make-up of your brain and body. They also have a similar effect to junk food and sweets in that they are addictive and comforting.

Oils, especially, made from canola, soy, corn, and other vegetable-based products are created by a carcinogenic high-heat process. This removes their nutritional value while leaving processed, unhealthy fat behind.

It is best to choose naturally-derived oils like olive and coconut that provide the brain with proteins, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory properties. Nourishing the brain and removing unnecessary inflammation reduces depression.


Foods like dairy may seem healthy on a moderate level, but they actually lead to inflammation, contain a lot of fat, and can be highly addictive. These are the components that lead to severe depression.

The main protein found in dairy, casein, has been linked to mood alterations. It takes a long time for the gut and body to digest, leading to a prolonged exposure affecting brain activity.

Most dairy is also processed, which causes several dietary concerns, leaving their nutritional value questionable.

The biggest problem with dairy is its addictive characteristic as the casomorphins within the casein protein are an opioid peptide. This keeps you coming back for more and can lead to a cycle of depression.


Moderation is key when it comes to your caffeine intake. The right amount of caffeine has been proven to reduce the risk of depression. However, the problem with caffeine is that it is addictive.

Due to its addictive nature, over-consumptive and reliance are common. This can increase your blood pressure and cause stress, which leads to inflammation (the main reason for depression).

A crash follows the extreme high produced by caffeine. This effect alone can lead to depression.

So, it is recommended that those who already are prone to mood disorders or addictive habits avoid caffeine. Only small amounts of caffeine should be consumed otherwise.

How can Food and Depression Be Avoided?

If you are depressed or are prone to depression because of genetics, then your diet should be carefully considered. Food and depression go hand-in-hand, so choosing organic, unprocessed, and vitamin-rich food is a must.

Begin analyzing your food choice by making a chart of your daily diet. See if any of the food in this article is on your list. Then slowly eliminate them one by one. Keep a journal of how you feel each day to evaluate your progress.

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