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Mental Health

How Sugar Impacts Mental Health and 8 Tips to Reduce Consumption

I think it’s safe to say that you know how sugar affects you. You know that if you consume something sweet and sugary you’ll experience a boost of energy and a sugar high and probably a lull or crash soon after leaving you craving another boost. But do you know how sugar impacts your mental health? And are you aware of the damage that this continual cycle with sugar is causing your gut? How the heck do you break the cycle when sugar is everywhere and you’re kind of addicted to it?

Whitney Barkman - How Sugar Impacts Mental Health and 8 Tips to Reduce Consumption
— How Sugar Could Be Harming Your Mental Health

1.Depression

The ups and downs of a sugar high and the crash can exaggerate mood symptoms. Research has even tied high amounts of sugar consumption to an increased risk for depression. There are a few theories of how sugar can impact depression, one of them being that sugar is a cause of inflammation in the gut and brain. And this inflammation can disrupt your gut flora and the production of important chemicals/neurotransmitters needed to maintain a healthy mood balance.

2.Anxiety

A diet high in refined sugar can worsen anxiety and impair your body’s ability to cope with stress. Symptoms such as shaking, tension, nervousness and even panic attacks can be caused by (or made worse by) sugar consumption. 

Whitney Barkman - How Sugar Impacts Mental Health and 8 Tips to Reduce Consumption
— 8 Ways to Reduce Sugar Consumption

Sugar is a highly addictive substance that is added to almost all processed and pre-packaged foods. Cutting down your consumption can be tricky, but here are some tips to help you overcome sugar addiction.

1.Reduce or Eliminate Caffeine

The ups and downs that come with caffeine can include dehydration and blood sugar swings, causing sweet cravings.

2.Drink Water

Sweet cravings can sometimes be caused by dehydration. When you’re experiencing a craving, have a glass of water and see if that helps.

3.Eat Naturally Sweet Foods

Consuming more fruit and naturally sweet vegetables will help curb the unhealthy sugar cravings.

4.Avoid Artificial Sweeteners

Switch to gentle and natural sweeteners such as maple syrup, dried fruit or stevia. Though these should still be consumed in moderation.

5.Move Your Body

Start with simple activities such as yoga or walking for 10 minutes a day then increase. Being physically active balances blood sugar levels, boosts energy and reduces tension.

6.Get More Sleep

Sugar is a quick energy source when your body and mind are exhausted. Increase your sleep quantity or quality to help reduce cravings caused by being tired. 

7.Eliminate Fat Free Snacks

Healthy fats can actually help balance blood sugar. And fat free or low fat snacks are usually loaded up with sugar.

8.Experiment With Spices

Spices such as coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg or cloves can naturally sweeten foods and will reduce your sugar cravings. 

Kick refined sugar out with some of these tips from above and feel the balance that can come to your mental health. 

 

Love & Light
Whitney