Everyone knows that a piece of chocolate can help you boost your mood when things are looking gloomy, but don’t bring refined sugars into this circle. The British Journal of Psychiatry published a cross-cultural analysis in 2011 that showed a ‘strong correlation between refined sugar consumption and mental illness’.
“What could cause this?’, you maybe asking yourself. Well, we have got the breakdown, it involves some neurological terms, but bare with us, it’s important. What you need to understand is that our brain requires a chemical called ‘brain-derived neurotrophic factor‘ (BDNF) which serves as a growth hormone in the brain. It helps maintain the health of the millions of neurons working in our brain muscle by helping them make new connections between each other and aid with memory function.
Refined sugar consumption suppresses the release of this hormone, which has a potential to increase depression and schizophrenia. In fact, individuals that suffered from these mental illnesses, were shown to have low levels of the BDNF hormone. Aside from causing a risk for mental illnesses, consuming high dosage of refined sugar leads to inflammation in the body and prevents our immune system from properly functioning. This chronic inflammation can lead to arthritis, different forms of cancer, diabetes, heart diseases, and other illnesses, which includes depression and schizophrenia.
Professor of University of Kansas, Dr. Illardi, said that there is a solution for this, and all it requires of you is a diet change. His patients, suffering from mental illnesses, have shown that their new diet high in whole grains and low in refined foods and sugar, significantly improved their mental health and clarity. So the next time you are having a bad day, remember to stick to natural sugars and chocolates, and leave those refined sugars and food to the side, they will only worsen your mental state.