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Depression Health Center

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Foods to Help You Feel Better

6 ways to add mood-boosting foods to your diet.

How Foods and Beverages May Make You Feel Bad

Just as some foods can help you feel better, others can make you feel down. Here are ways to reduce the harmful effects of three foods that can drag you down.

1. Reduce foods high in saturated fat.

Saturated fat is well known for its role in promoting heart disease and some types of cancer. Now researchers suspect saturated fat also plays a role in depression.

The link was found in a study called the Coronary Health Improvement Project, which followed 348 people between the 24 and 81. A decrease in saturated fat over a six-week period was associated with a decrease in depression.

2. Limit alcohol carefully.

That “feel-good” drink, alcohol, is actually a depressant. In small doses, alcohol can produce a temporary feeling of euphoria. But the truth is that alcohol is a chemical depressant to the human brain and affects all nerve cells.

Depending on the amount of alcohol consumed, people can go quickly from feeling relaxed to experiencing exaggerated emotions and impaired coordination.

It’s no coincidence that depressive disorders often co-occur with substance abuse, and one of the main forms of substance abuse in this country is alcohol.

3. Don’t go crazy with caffeine.

Caffeine can increase irritability a couple of ways.

  • If the caffeine you consume later in the day disrupts your nighttime sleeping, you are likely to be cranky and exhausted until you get a good night’s rest.
  • Caffeine can also bring on a burst or two of energy, often ending with a spiral into fatigue.

Some people are more sensitive than others to the troublesome effects of caffeine. If you are sensitive to caffeine, decrease the amount of coffee, tea, and sodas you drink to see if this helps uplift your mood and energy level, particularly in the latter part of the day.

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Reviewed on May 25, 2011

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