We all know that comfort foods such as potato chips, mac 'n' cheese and ice cream make us feel guilty (also bloated). Yes, these treats—which are deep-fried or contain vegetable oils, shortening and dairy—are high in fat, but that’s not the whole problem. They’re rich in omega-6, a type of polyunsaturated fatty acid that may affect mental health when there's too little of its cousin, omega-3. When researchers raise mice on a diet that has a high omega-6/omega-3 ratio, those animals suffer from depression symptoms similar to those observed in people (they brood more, give up faster and explore less).
This might help: Try snacks that are higher in omega-3: walnuts and edamame instead of potato chips, avocado instead of mayonnaise, grass-fed milk instead of ice cream, and foods cooked with canola oil instead of vegetable oil. But when you’ve already succumbed and need to repent, there’s another way to help balance your wonky ratio. Some studies, but not all, have found that mild-to-moderate depression may be relieved with fish-oil supplements, which are high in omega-3s.