Avoid these 10 bad-mood foods. TODAY
The Joy-Killing Truth: Agave is promoted as a healthy, natural sweetener, but that's simply a myth. "Agave isn't a health food," says Dr. Ramsey. "People have been misled."
Conventional Holiday Ham
The Joy-Killing Truth: Conventional hams come from factory farms where pigs are pumped full of antibiotics. These hams are also injected with sugar, salt, fillers, and nitrate preservatives that can trigger low moods, migraines, and even swollen ankles, and "cankles" can make anyone seriously depressed!
Healthy Switch: Try a new holiday tradition: Wild-caught Alaskan salmon, bursting with memory-preserving, mood-boosting omega-3 fats DHA and EPA.
The Joy-Killing Truth: It's estimated that the average American drinks a whopping 600 sodas a year. These drinks turn to fat inside our bodies, sending our moods plummeting after the initial sugar rush, explains Dr. Ramsey.
Healthy Switch: As a replacement, try adding a bit of organic fruit juice to soda water.
The Joy-Killing Truth: For decades, scientists debated what was healthier for humans, margarine or butter. Now, the science is clear--margarines made of inflammation-promoting, industrial fats are harmful, and the high levels of omega-6 fatty acids could tamper with our mood and healthy insulin levels, too.
Healthy Switch: Pastured butter -- meaning butter from grass-fed cows -- is higher in a special kind of fat called conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA. This fat features anti-cancer properties and has been shown to slash belly fat, lower heart attack risk. Pastured butter also packs a brain-healthy omega-3 punch that industrial fats used for margarine can't deliver.
Processed Pumpkin Seeds
The Joy-Killing Truth: Raw pumpkin seeds or those you roast yourself are perfectly healthy. But those processed pellets in plastic packaging? Not so much.
The Joy-Killing Truth: Between the winter holidays and football season, it's nearly impossible to dodge potato chips. But those taters are likely fried up in oils laden with omega-6 fatty acids that block out mood-enhancing, brain-building omega-3 fatty acids. Frying potatoes also creates the carcinogen acrylamide.
The Joy-Killing Truth: Many of us grew up being told bagels are healthy. The truth is, these breakfast favorites are packed with refined carbs that result in a major energy crash and mood bust before lunchtime. Plus, companies are doubling the size of bagels compared to just a few decades ago.
Healthy Switch: Opt instead for organic, pastured eggs because they're full of important brain and mood-boosting nutrients like B vitamins, zinc, and iodide, and they'll keep you full and energized, recommends Dr. Ramsey.
The Joy-Killing Truth: The packaged, salted peanuts commonly served at holiday parties are high in sodium and questionable food additives, including monosodium glutamate (MSG), an artificial flavoring linked to migraines, weakness, burning sensations, wheezing, and difficulty breathing in some people -- and who wants to deal with that at a holiday party?
Healthy Switch: Create a brain food nut mix by combining omega-3-rich walnuts, almonds rich in vitamin E, which protects vital brain fat, and a few selenium-rich Brazil nuts.
The Joy-Killing Truth: Common in holiday baking, you should avoid vegetable shortening for the same reason you should be bypassing industrial-fat-derived margarine -- an increase in omega-6 fatty acids that block out brain-building, mood-promoting omega-3 fatty acids.
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Healthy Switch: "The shocking baking swap is using pastured lard instead of vegetable shortening," says Dr. Ramsey.
Sugar-Packed Sweet Potatoes
The Joy-Killing Truth: Many packaged sweet potatoes and even homemade recipes for candied or marshmallow casserole sweet potatoes call for multiple cups of sugar that will start the suffering process for your brain and mood minutes after eating. High blood sugar levels actually age our blood vessels, shrink our brains, damage vision and nerve function, and increase our risk of depression and Alzheimer's disease.
Healthy Switch: Naked sweet potatoes--ones baked without all of the added sugar--are loaded with beta-carotene, a fat-soluble, brain-protecting antioxidant the body uses to manufacture vitamin A.