Carbohydrates and Low Moods: Comfort Foods to the Rescue

January 25, 2013

carbohydrates-and-low-moodsAccording to a recent paper on moods from John Hopkins, indulging in carbohydrate-rich foods (for example, pasta, cake, bread, rice, bagel, pancakes, crackers, potatoes, bread sticks, waffles, and cookies) could indicate that you may have atypical depression. Ingesting such foods increases serotonin levels in your brain, which in turn can boost your mood.

Other symptoms of atypical depression include significant weight gain or increase in appetite, oversleeping and heaviness in the arms or legs.  This type of depression is also marked by extreme sensitivity to rejection and general sadness. Sensitive individuals are reluctant to express their opinions and tend to avoid controversial discussions. They are very easily hurt by negative feedback from others.  Moreover, super sensitive individuals tend to over-rely on habitual situations and well-established relationships to avoid rejection. That’s the main reason why the atypical depression tends to cause great family, social and occupational damage.

However, unlike the typical depression sufferers, people with atypical depression do find pleasure and joy in ‘certain activities at certain times‘.

They are able to experience better moods in response to positive events and situations. The most effective mood booster is human connection, common humanity and compassion. Giving oneself an opportunity to express the self freely and having the ability to be heard is key to a brighter mood and more optimal emotional style.

Treating yourself with kindness can take a form of taking time off to give the self an emotional break. Engaging in a more structured type of relationship like personal coaching is my, admittedly biased, preferred way to practice compassion, which leads to the improved mood.

The act of making the choice to go with care, encouragement and acceptance, instead of criticism and anger can instantly brighten the mood.

So, before you reach for your second helping of the spaghetti, or that extra cookie after dinner tonight, think of all the other choices you have to improve your mood. I don’t mean just the vegetables and whole grains…

photo credit: nettsu via photopin cc

2 Comments. Leave new

Very interesting post Renata. As a Puerto-Rican married to an Italian, rice and pasta are staples in our house. Luckily I work out every day and am not scared to express my opinions or avoid controversial discussions. Otherwise I could never blog! 🙂

I’ve heard about this report and as I get older, I’m trying more and more to stay away from carbohydrate-rich foods. Especially as that metabolism slows down!

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lily-ann@stepoutofthemist.com'
Lily-Ann MacDonald
February 24, 2013 6:14 pm

Hi, Renata …

I read this post with interest, as it has now been 6 months since I actually eliminated all manner of grains from my diet … no rice, no wheat, no corn, no oats or barley – nothing with obvious gluten in it … opting instead for really increasing my organic vegetables, organic meat and dairy, and replacing wheat-based flour with coconut flour, almond meal and quinoa. The change in my health has been stunning, I must say – if only I’d known it was this easy, I’d have done this so very long ago!

But I have more energy, less joint pain, and even a clearer mind as a result, and I’m sure other benefits that I’m not even aware of yet. Not to mention the unintentional (but happy) side-effect of weight loss. So I’m in total agreement that certain kinds of carbs can really impact on mood and overall health. Thanks for sharing this article.

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