Killing Us Softly: These Foods Can Be Mood-Killers
Eating makes us happy. We are biologically wired this way, and it makes sense that we would have evolved like this: in order to live a hardscrabble life on the savannah hundreds of thousands of years ago, our ancestors would need every scrap of nutrient we could find. We register our bodies consuming the food we need to survive by activating pleasure centers in our brains, and this drives us to seek more of the same.
This is a double-edged sword in this age of plenty, however, as our bodies don’t recognize abundance and still stubbornly cling to every fat and sugar molecule we feed them–and thus make our brain’s pleasure centers light up with mood-elevating joy.
This can take a darker turn when we eat certain foods and too much of other foods, however. Here is a partial list of some mood-killing foods to avoid.
• Soda – This one should pretty much be a no-brainer. However the truth is that on average, an American consumes 600 sodas a year. These sugar-bombs turn to fat once our bodies process them, and following the instant high of the sugar and in some cases caffeine rush, there is the nasty crash to deal with, derailing your mood and energy.
• Margarine – For decades this trans-fat laden, industrial yellow paste made from vegetable oils extracted from corn, cottonseed or safflower oil using the solvent hexane, then bubbled through with hydrogen gas in the presence of nickel, then treated with bleach and food coloring was touted as a healthy alternative to butter. Which is a little insane to think about. But the truth is that it leads to mood-killing inflammation, increased risk of heart disease, higher LDL cholesterol levels, decreased immune response and other health issues, and is now widely thought to be much worse for you than natural butter.
• Agave nectar – Sadly this sweetener, once touted as a healthy alternative to sugar is proving to be a bit of a hoax, when it comes to health benefits. For starters, although it is known to rank low on the glycemic scale, the reason for this is that it contains fructose, which doesn’t raise the body’s glycemic levels simply because we don’t process it well. In actual fact, most agave nectar or syrup contains staggeringly high levels of fructose, more even than many products containing high-fructose corn syrup, and thus isn’t any more healthy than drinking soda, and thus a mood-killer like its carbonated kin.
• Pumpkin seeds – Don’t worry, if you roast your own, you will get the benefits of these protein-packed treats. But store-bought pumpkin seeds are often coated with a preservative called potassium bromate, which blocks the uptake of iodine by the thyroid gland–the center of mood-regulation. Without correct levels of iodine, you can count on your moods to go haywire.