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The link between what we eat and how we feel

With summer right around the corner (we hope!) it is tempting to indulge in all those lovely summery cocktails and sweet treats around at this time of year.

Recent research, however, suggests an increased intake of sugar can exacerbate pre-existing mental health problems, particularly anxiety.

Since 5% of the UK population live with anxiety at any given time, summer is not a period of relaxation for all.

Of course, there are a plethora of reasons why summer can have a toll on mental health (think unhealthy Instagram comparisons) although diet no doubt plays a part in mental wellbeing. That’s not to say all sugar is bad; it’s just important to remain mindful of excess sugar consumption, which can negatively affect those already suffering with their mental health.  

Keeping away from processed foods and drinks high in sugar prevents fluctuations in blood glucose levels, which if not well-controlled, can mimic symptoms of anxiety.

Increasingly, research suggests a strong correlation between nutritional deficiencies and mental health. Low levels of magnesium were found to worsen anxiety, along with zinc, vitamin B6 and omega-3 fatty acids, among others.

Try replacing empty calories for nuts – cashews are high in zinc whilst almonds and peanuts are good sources of magnesium.

Moreover, eating more fruit and vegetables has shown to help those with anxiety. A study with 12,000 Australians revealed that those who increased their fruit and vegetable intake were happier than those whose diets remained the same.

Enjoy the summer whilst remaining mindful that a high sugar consumption can make you feel worse in the long run!