Carbohydrates are one of the major components of diet. Almost 50-60% of the total energy required is derived from carbohydrates alone. Broadly, they are of two types:
- Simple carbohydrates like sugar, jaggery, honey etc.
- Complex carbohydrates like starches, fibers, gums etc.
As far as the role of carbohydrates in depression is concerned, it has been observed that depressed and/or anxious people often develop a craving for carbohydrates. Since carbohydrate-rich foods may enhance the production of serotonin (a neurotransmitter which is found in decreased amounts in anxious and depressed people), they may create a feeling of well-being. This induces depressed and/or anxious individuals to unknowingly take more and more carbohydrates. In such situations, the type of carbohydrates one consumes becomes important. Therefore, one should reduce the intake of simple carbohydrates (especially refined sugars) and enhance the intake of complex starches. To further increase the effect of such complex starches, incorporate protein (tryptophan) rich food product in your carbohydrate meal. Usually, a carbohydrate-rich diet is recommended in depression and anxiety.