Are you a big fan of Wonder Bread, but noticed that there's some wonder missing from your life? Got the blues, despite the pleasures of a big bowl of spaghetti and meatballs every night?
Next time you order a sandwich for lunch or pick up a package of pasta for a quick dinner, you may want to consider going whole-wheat. Because according to a new study, your mental health just might depend on it.
Lunch date-loving, postmenopausal ladies, this especially applies to you. As it happens, your choice of bread or noodles can be directly tied to your risk of suffering from depression and anxiety, and the results aren't looking good for highly refined carbs. So much for stress-eating Fluffernutter sandwiches.
In the study, recently published in the the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers looked at data gathered from more than 70,000 postmenopausal women who participated in the National Institutes of Health's women's health initiative between 1994 and 1998. While the data did not list the specific foods that the female subjects were consuming, it did analyze each woman's glycemic index. Which, as we all know, is the human speedometer that measures how fast and how much a food raises one's blood sugar levels.
Researchers found that the women who ate diets high in added sugars—found in soft drinks, white bread, bagels, and pizza (and less obvious sources such as yogurt and ketchup)—were at an increased risk of suffering from depression and mental illness.
Meanwhile, the women who ate a diet high in wholesome dietary fiber—such as from whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, and non-juiced fruits—had a decreased risk of falling into depression. Maybe there's something to those açai bowls, after all.
Anecdotally, the world does seem like a grimmer place when you're coming down from the throes of a sugar high—but there is a bright side to all of this: this knowledge has helpful applications for the some 3.3 million Americans that suffer from depression and mental illness, according to Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
And when it's as simple as swapping out stuff that's low in nutritional value anyhow, you may as well turn that frown upside down from the inside out.