Think about it: when you’re feeling stressed or anxious, do you reach for the ice cream? Do you end up feeling better, or worse?Often, sugar is used as a treat or to help comfort us, but it could be doing more harm than good. Tucking into a big pizza at lunchtime might feel great, you may find yourself dropping off to sleep straight afterwards. Conversely, if you’re eating an energising, filling salad for lunch, you could find that you’re feeling able to concentrate for the rest of the day.
Did you know that actually, numerous foods can sabotage your happiness and well-being, but sugar might be one of the worst? Many studies have now confirmed that sugar has an adverse effect on long-term psychological health, including depression and anxiety.
Sugar is not your friend
Think about a time you ate too much ice cream or perhaps indulged in a second helping of pasta. Although you may think that the ice cream has more sugar, in fact all carbohydrates convert to sugar in your body, including the pasta!
Sugars which are widely found in carbs, sweets, junk food and fruit juices can cause spikes and drops in energy levels which aren’t ideal for your mood as it can make you tired, irritable and anxious.
After eating sugar, the kick it gives you will raise your levels of glucose in the bloodstream, but this is only short-lived. Unfortunately, a blood sugar drop will always follow a sugar high. This can make you want to ‘chase’ that high, leading to more consumption of even more sugar, causing a vicious cycle.
Reducing your intake of added sugar and stabilising blood sugar levels can have an extremely positive effect on your mood.
This is not to say to NEVER eat sugar, as you may find that very difficult, seeing as sugar is in practically everything that is on offer. To stop the vicious cycle of lows and highs, it’s important to regulate your sugar intake as part of a healthy, balanced diet. Switching to a more natural, healthy diet and incorporating more meat, fish and leafy vegetables can really help.
To feel happy on a day-to-day basis and maintain feelings of wellbeing, we need to encourage our brains to feel good about ourselves – without relying on sugary treats. Create a plan that focuses on creating and maintaining calmness, happiness, and well-being.
The most effective way to boost yourself up is to take more exercise, even a brisk walk in the fresh air can make you feel better about yourself. Try stress relieving activities such as yoga, meditation or anything which makes you feel good, even on a difficult day!