While many conscientious eaters think constantly about the food we’re eating — how it will affect our hearts, the environment and most of all, our waistlines — we rarely think about its impact on our brains, mood and energy levels.
But the gut and the brain are in constant two-way communication, and the health of one directly influences the health of the other.
More specifically, when inflammation is present in the gut, less energy is available to the brain and body. That’s because low-grade inflammation flips off a metabolic switch in the chemical pathway that produces energy.
The result is not only lower energy but an increase in free radicals that damage brain tissue.
Foods that can cause anxiety and fatigue
Understanding which foods contribute to chronic inflammation of the gut and brain is a powerful step in managing your mood and energy levels.
As a nutritional psychiatrist, I always try to avoid these five types of foods that can make you tired and stressed:
1. Processed foods
Consuming unhealthy processed foods like baked goods and soda, which are loaded with refined and added sugars — often in the form of high-fructose corn syrup — floods the brain with too much glucose. This “sugar flood” can lead to inflammation in the brain and may ultimately result in depression and fatigue.
Instead of buying processed foods, I recommend reaching for nutrient-dense whole foods like fresh or vegetables and clean proteins like organic grass-fed beef and wild or sustainably-caught fish.
2. Industrial seed oils
The industrialization of the food industry has led to the development of inexpensive, highly processed oils created from the byproduct of abundant crops. These include corn, grapeseed, soybean sunflower and palm oils.
Through processing, these oils become incredibly high in inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids and devoid of anti-inflammatory omega-3, which promotes brain health. Studies have shown that people who consume foods high in omega-6 fatty acids are at…
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