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One of the most common reactions when we are feeling down is to use something to eat. Our research showed that up to 75% of people instinctively reach for comfort food when they're feeling down, stressed or angry.

But what we're eating (or drinking) make us feel worse.

Discover the 5 most common food traps that may be wrecking your mood.

Trap 1: Sugar
Use something sweet when we are so instinctive feeling low, you'd almost think it is hard-wired. Carbohydrates and refined sugars will give us a short-term boost, but it can lower blood sugar after we get that result in mood swings and even tantrums in children.

What could you do instead?
University researchers have shown that cravings for sweet foods, especially the late night munchies, really cravings for water - we are not very good at reading the signs.

To balance your blood sugar, a protein-based snack to be more helpful. You could try first.

Trap 2: Caffeine
It is in coffee, tea, cola drinks and plenty more besides. Caffeine is a stimulant that can take us by way of "fight or flight", making us edgy and irritable. So, if you are already stressed or angry, it's the last thing you need.

What could you do instead?
You may rehydrate your system and give an instant energy boost, cool glass of water to make a difference for yourself. If you are feeling tense and irritable, you might prefer camomile tea. And, of course, do not breathe - take 3 deep breaths, breathing in through your nose. Fill your lungs from your stomach up and then breathe out through your mouth with a sigh. Works!

Trap 3: Sweeteners & Additives
We think we are doing the right thing going for the low-cal, low-fat options, but they do something for the taste and texture you'd have had from the sugars and fats. Unfortunately, this is often in the form of sweeteners and chemical additives. There are various agencies approved for food use, but there is growing research evidence that they can affect your mood.

One of the leading artificial sweeteners now officially linked to mood swings and even depression, regular users. And we have known for years that the infamous "E-numbers" can be behavioral problems in children.

What could you do instead?
Labels in the supermarket checkout. As a rule of thumb, if any ingredient on the list you would not cook with at home, think twice before putting it into your basket. Consider purchasing the non-diet versions, but they are eating less ...

Trap 4: Alcohol
How many times we can get to the end of a tough day and think, "I could really do with a glass of wine / a beer?"

And research is showing that some alcoholic beverages with health benefits, in moderation.

But alcohol is a toxin to the body itself. And it also suppresses brain activity depressant and dehydrates your body. So if you want to feel happier, stiff drink probably not the best place to start.

March 6, 2012 - 3:23am


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