Today I want to share five foods that cause depression and anxiety in your life.
As Christians, we don’t easily admit when we’re depressed. We don’t like to think about being depressed. Yet, it happens. Even in Christian circles. Almost as much as it does in the world.
Many of us know the verse in Philippians that says, “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Chapter 4, verses 6-7)
We know scriptures say we’re not supposed to have anxiety and of course we don’t want to be depressed either, but it happens. And it happens not just for emotional reasons or psychological reasons. It happens because of nutritional deficiencies.
Foods That Cause Depression – The Link Between Diet and Mood
When people aren’t eating healthy, maintaining a healthy diet, it has negative effects on their mood.
Today we’re going to talk about how to help your body ditch depression and break free from the foods in our diet that may be causing it.
The National Institute of Health has recognized that nutrition and depression are intricately and undeniably linked. Mounting evidence by researchers and neuro-psychology support this conclusion.
The evidence is out there!
Scripture talks about it.
Now, let’s identify it.
In the Treasures of Healthy Living Bible study, I teach 3 foundational principles:
- Eat the foods God called food
- Eat the foods as close as possible to the way God designed them
- Don’t let any food be an addiction or your god
Our diet (what we’re eating) matters greatly to our overall health.
Top Five Foods that Cause Depression
1 – Dead bread
Principle two is where we get into so much trouble today. When we think about eating bread, it’s typically bread made with white, processed flour. Our bodies don’t know how to respond to products like this and havoc is wreaked within. Our health suffers.
Dead bread is the bread found on the grocery store shelves, sometimes for weeks, waiting to be bought.
Bread wasn’t meant to be dead. It was meant to be a living food. Bread is mentioned over 400 times in scripture. And Jesus refers to Himself as the Bread of life.
As we talk about bread, we talk about processed flour, which is stripping all of the nutritional value from the wheat, bleaching it, and enriching it with synthetics and an over-processing of gluten.
Processing takes what God created for GOOD and corrupts it.
This gluten is causing havoc in digestive systems and our genetic makeup. It’s causing a host of problems. High levels of gluten in white, processed flour has been shown to be a contributing factor to depression, anxiety, and other mood disturbances.
Eating for Health
When people come off of fake, dead bread, their digestive systems start to heal. Inflammation starts to heal. People feel better physically, which helps them think better. And when people think, better, they’re happier.
There’s a direct relationship between over-processed, white flour with high levels of glutton and depression.
So, what’s the solution?
I’m glad you asked!
Get off all bread products for a minimum of 60 days (I prefer 6 months, but know that’s a challenge.)
After your body has had a break and a chance to heal, we can reintroduce freshly-made, freshly-milled bread that comes from the creation God gave us.
You’ll be amazed at the plethora of benefits from the B vitamins and fiber in living bread. Moreover, you’ll find depression and anxiety slipping away and being replaced with satiety and well-being for your whole body.
Watch this video of how to make gut-healing and mind-calming bread:
When we focus on eating for our health, we are rewarded in abundance!
2 – Dairy
This is the second food I always recommend people remove when dealing with health issues and/or anxiety and depression. Once again, we make these decisions based on the 3 principles of healthy eating.
In its natural form, dairy is healthy food. However, dairy is another of the most atrociously stripped of nutrients food we consume.
Dairy – a personal story
I worked with one client who’s daughter kept breaking out with a skin rash on her back. We tried to pinpoint the exact cause of the rash. We looked at her exposure to seasonal allergies, soaps, shampoo, or a specific ingredient.
After we eliminated everything, we tried dairy. Even though she claimed to not eat much dairy, she did love cheese.
We eliminated all dairy, including cheese, for 6 months. The rash disappeared within 3 weeks and never returned.
As I’ve checked in with her, the mom has confirmed that her daughter’s rash only returns when she eats processed dairy. She’s grateful raw cheese is an option!
Dairy has addictive properties. The texture, flavors, etc. It’s very pleasurable food.
Dr. Kelly Brogan shares that science supports our attachment to dairy on a molecular level. It contains a morphine-like compound that engages our opiate receptors and creates a mild dairy addiction.
So, if you don’t feel like you can’t give up dairy, recognize that it’s a battle, but one worth fighting.
Healthy Dairy Options
Your happiness and joy is worth it!
Try it for 30 or 60 days and see how you feel.
When you go back to dairy, whenever that is, eat it from a good source. That means raw dairy. Perhaps you can find a cow share where you can get raw milk and butter.
Ghee is also a great, healthier butter alternative.
There are options. When we go back to the foods God created, (think 3 Principles) we benefit. We have happier, healthier cells.
When we eat food that’s been processed, which are so prevalent in our culture, they lead us down to the pit of despair.
3 – GMOs
I’m sure you’ve heard the term before: Genetically Modified Organisms.
These have become a staple in most people’s diets today. GMOs are in almost every processed food on the market.
If you eat any processed foods that have corn, soybeans, and many other ingredients that are genetically modified, you’re ingesting foods that are proven to be destructive to the digestive tract.
When the digestive tract is harmed and inflamed, other problems develop throughout the body.
One of the touted benefits of genetically modified food is that they become resistant to pesticides. However, it’s been proven that the dangerous chemical glyphosate used in pesticides actually soaks into the plants.
So, you’re not just consuming GMOs, but poisons. Obviously something that’s a poison will be damaging to your health. And these are common-place in our everyday diet!
Here is a video where I discuss GMO and all of its negative effects on your health:
Whether you’re pro-GMO (as an answer to better crops) or anti-GMO, I want you to know that these foods contribute to cancer, depression, anxiety, and other mental and physical health problems.
Remember, when we heal our digestive system, we set our whole bodies on a course of healing. A healthy diet helps us not only feel better physically but helps us keep us in a better mood day by day.
4 – Sugar
I talk about this a lot, too. You know you were waiting for it!
If we were given a vial when we’re born that said how much sugar we should have our whole life to ensure our pancreas, hormones, and body systems would be happy, I’d have to admit, I went through that vial 100 times. And I paid the price!
Sugars can over-stimulate brain cells. They can over-excite.
Unfortunately, sugar has been painted the bad guy in our culture and replaced with alternatives that are equally as harmful to us. If the answer for you is to replace sugar with artificial sweeteners, let me encourage you not to go that direction either.
We won’t get into all of the data and damage they can do here, but one of the important things to know about artificial sugars is that they’re considered exotoxins. In other words, they cause a lot of havoc with our hormones.
Know what hormones have a great impact on? Our mood.
We have enough hormone issues, don’t we? Let’s not encourage more problems in this area!
When sugar becomes a habitual drug of choice, it leads to anxiety and depression.
The Sugar Roller Coaster
Eating high levels of sugar can also lead to sugar cravings. It causes blood sugar levels to increase quickly. Your body responds appropriately by producing insulin to manage and try to use the sugar, but when our blood sugar levels spike, often our body overcorrects, resulting in a blood sugar crash.
Then cortisol comes in to try to make up for it and help remove stored sugar back into the blood sugar.
Afterward, we end up on a crazy roller coaster ride – going from high to low to high to low – that ends in a train wreck.
Take a look at this video on the foods that cause depression. I explained this topic further in this video – please feel free to share it with your friends and family whom you think can benefit from the teachings I shared in it.
Artificial sugars aren’t a better solution because they trick the body into thinking we’re eating sugar and trigger the pancreas to produce hormones to process the sugar. But there is none.
Instead of balancing out, the pancreas produces more, eventually wearing out from the drastic ups and downs.
The result ends up we wear out our organs and body systems God put in place to help us protect ourselves. We, instead of being aware of the need to take care of these systems, abuse them with excessive eating of nutrient-lacking foods.
Sugar utilizes more nutrition than it brings in. We make withdrawals from our healthy bank account when we eat things high in sugar. When we make too many withdrawals without any deposits, we’re setting ourselves up for sickness.
This food is strongly related to our brain and overall body health.
Excessive amounts of sugar lead to:
- Spikes insulin
- Harms the microbiome in our digestive system
- Leads to increases in the stress hormone cortisol
- Starves our brain
- Damages the structures in our bodies such as our cell membranes and blood vessels.
All of this leads to depression.
Sugar – Be on the Lookout!
There are lots of research available showing how harmful sugar is. Because of this, manufacturers of processed foods have gotten very creative in naming sugar so we won’t recognize it for what it is.
Here are some more popular examples (a quick internet search will bring up lists with dozens of alternative names for sugar!):
- Cane sugar
- Crystalline fructose
- High fructose corn syrup
It’s all sugar!
Be careful with what you’re putting in your body. Let’s get healthy from the inside out.
Before we leave this item, though, let me leave you with a couple of quality alternatives. My top two recommendations are dates and honey.
Those are the best choices in sweeteners.
5 – Vegetable oil
Vegetable oil is a commercial form of oil that’s an unhealthy fat. We need to get our oils from fruits such as avocados, olives, and grapeseeds.
Olive oil is one of my favorites! Check out this video about all the health benefits of olives and olive oil.
Oil isn’t meant to come from corn, safflower, sunflower, or canola.
Most of our vegetable oils are coming from GMO plants, making them a double no-no.
They are highly toxic to your body. Anything toxic to the body is also toxic to the brain. Anything toxic to the brain can lead to anxiety, depression, and overall poor health.
Instead of including things in our diet that don’t contribute to our health, let’s choose a healthy diet full of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.
Ditching Foods that Cause Depression
I’ve been saying 30 days, 60 days, 6 months. Even if you can go 2-4 weeks without these harmful foods, you’ll do an amazing thing for your body. It will be able to relax and experience great relief.
Your body will have a chance to recoup, improve, and generate a new life for you.
Keep in mind, all of our body is connected to all of our body. In other words, what we eat affects our minds and what’s in our mind affects our bodies.
If we want to be healthier tomorrow, we need to eat today like tomorrow matters.
It can be overwhelming to make drastic changes in your diet. When my husband and I decided to make this shift we found it wasn’t as hard as we thought.
Instead, I became more excited about what I could eat instead of what I couldn’t. I looked forward to ridding myself of depression and the tension it brought into my family.
I had ruined too many vacations and family experiences!
Furthermore, I realized I’d been working in a deficit with depression.
My hope is that if you’ve been working from a place of a deficit with your physical and mental health that you can break free. That you can experience healthy and whole health.
There are other things you can do to help combat depression and anxiety, but this is a great place to start. Give yourself an advantage.
Take a break from these foods and let me know how you feel! I look forward to hearing your healing story.