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A High-Fat Diet May Be Fueling Your Anxiety

fatty foods and anxiety

We know that a high-fat diet is unhealthy. It causes weight gain. What we didn't know is it can fuel anxiety.

A new complex study reveals that a high-fat diet can induce anxiety by impacting the gut microbiome.

As farfetched as it may sound, the bacteria in your gut influence your moods and overall health.

Now, there are "good"  and "bad" bacteria.  Generally, your gut should house a rich diversity of bacteria to be healthy.

But in the study, which was done on animals, those on a high-fat diet had more of a particular type of bacteria and less of another. This condition is common among people with obesity and processed foods sold all over America.

As I mentioned, it doesn't end with weight gain — although that's bad enough.

The animals on a high-fat diet showed more expression of three certain genes, especially in the area of the brainstem associated with stress and anxiety.

One of these genes is tryptophan hydroxylase, a.k.a tph2. A higher expression of tph2 is associated with mood disorders and suicide risks.

All of this can result from consistently eating too much fatty foods. More on the research here.

Fun fact: the typical American diet is 36% fat. That's pretty high.

Not to mention the calories.

Wll, we live in a busy world where fast food is the norm. We consume a lot of ultra-processed foods daily. Junk foods can cause depression or worsen it. We now see that it may also result in anxiety due to the high-fat content.

The bottom line?

Your diet can considerably influence your mood, so you want to be careful about what you eat.

Although it's hard to scrap junk from your diet, supplement with a wide range of fruits and vegetables, legumes, and add fermented foods to enhance the diversity in your gut microbiome. This is the best way to promote a healthy gut microbiome.

And remember, not all fats are bad. While ditching the pizza and fries, you'll want to replace that with some good avocado.

Foods containing healthy fats include avocados, nuts, fatty fish, dark chocolate, eggs, yogurt, seed butter, and flax seed.

Dealing with anxiety and depression?

We can help.

At Hope Mental Health, we provide safe, effective psychiatric care in Boise & Meridian, Idaho, SLC & the Wasatch Front, Utah. Also serving OR, AZ, NV, WA & FL.

Contact us today.


Satu H. Woodland, PMHCNS-BC, APRN Satu H. Woodland, PMHCNS-BC, APRN Satu Woodland is owner and clinician of Hope Mental Health, an integrative mental health practice located at Bown Crossing in Boise, Idaho. She sees children, adolescents, and adults.  Ms. Woodland with her background in nursing, prefers a holistic and integrative approach to mental health care that addresses the mind and body together. While Ms. Woodland provides medication management services in all her patients, she believes in long-lasting solutions that include a number of psychotherapies, namely cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure and response prevention therapy, attention to lifestyle, evidenced based alternative psychiatric care and spirituality. If you’d like to gain control over your mental health issues, call Hope Mental Health at 208-918-0958, or use the online scheduling tool to set up an initial consultation.

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