One of the major health problems that most people in India face is depression. According to a report by Assocham, approximately 42.5% of corporate employees in India suffer from depression. Lack of enough sleep, unhealthy eating habits, and lifestyle are some of the reasons people suffer from depression. In addition to getting proper sleep, changing your eating habits can go a long way in overcoming depression. Many of us are unaware of the fact that too much sugar can affect our state of mind. Our brain loves carbohydrates, however, too much of it can disrupt the reward mechanism of the brain. In this blog, the relation between sugar and depression.
How Much is Too Much?
So, the question is how much sugar should you have? In 2011, researchers in Spain also found that those who ate baked food had a 38% chance of developing depression compared to those with the lowest intake. However, when it comes to sugar intake, it is not just about refined or white sugar. Food items such as grains, potatoes, and many others also need to be considered to check the amount of sugar intake. Consuming whole foods such as fruits and cereals instead of processed foods and refined grains can help in controlling your sugar intake. For instance, instead of drinking aerated drinks, you can prepare fresh cold-pressed vegetable and fruit juices at home. Cold-pressed juices contain more fibers and nutrients making them a healthy and tasty drink. In this concern, The World Health Organisation has also stated sugar intake guidelines where the department has asked people to reduce their daily intake of added sugars to less than 5% of their total energy intake. You also need to avoid eating sugar-rich foods, carbonated beverages, ketchup, and sports drinks to avoid excessive intake of sugar and depression.
How does Sugar Increase the Risk of Depression?
According to some studies, here are some of the ways how sugar can affect your mental health.
- Insulin and Leptin Resistance- Excessive sugar causes sugar, and leptin resistance as well as impairs your signaling abilities, which play a significant role in maintaining your mental health.
- Affects Brain-Derived Neurotropic Factor (BDNF) Hormone – Excessive sugar leads to effects BDNF hormone which plays a key role in keeping your brain healthy. Low levels of BDNF can lead to depression and schizophrenia.
- Interferes with Dopamine- Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that fuels the brain and also contributes to mood disorders.
- Leads to Chronic Inflammation-Too much sugar leads to chronic inflammation and in the long term disrupts the normal functioning of the immune system. This also raises the risk of depression.
Your food habits not only affect your physical health but also your mental health. Cutting down on sugar will not only help you stay away from harmful diseases but also keep depression away. Including various supplements in your diet such as Vitamin B12, Folic Acid, and Omega 3 fatty acids are some of the natural and healthy ways to overcome depression.