Breakups can cause physical pain, doctor says, but eating junk food will only make things worse

LANCASHIRE, United Kingdom — For many singles, their best friend after ending a relationship may be a carton of ice cream. While a doctor in the United Kingdom says getting dumped “can cause physical pain” — the best way to heal that heartbreak is by avoiding pizza and cake.

Dr. Chun Tang says recently single individuals can suffer severe physical symptoms linked to heartbreak, such as headaches, loss of appetite leading to weight loss, and insomnia. He suggests eating a good diet to try and mend a broken heart and combat the ailments associated with it.

Dr. Tang also recommends steering clear of processed foods and refined carbohydrates to help get over the end of a relationship. Instead, opt for fresh fruit, vegetables, and fish — which can all “boost mood.” He also advises that newly-single people not “bottle it in” and instead share how they feel with friends, family, and even employers. There is a perception that many couples call it quits in the period between New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day, leading to a surge of heartbroken individuals at the beginning of each year.

Heartbreak can manifest in many ways,” says Dr. Tang, a general practitioner and medical director at Pall Mall Medical, from Lytham, Lancashire, in a video. “A good diet and the right vitamins can also help a broken heart.

“Eating fresh fruit, vegetables and fish can help with mood. Avoid processed foods and refined carbohydrates – they’ll just make you feel sluggish and tired,” Tang continues.

What are the worst breakup foods?

Refined carbohydrates include white bread, pizza dough, pasta, pastries, white flour, white rice, sweet desserts, and many breakfast cereals. The doctor suggests avoiding fatty, fried foods that are high in trans fats, such as burgers, fries, and Chinese takeout.

According to the Tang, heartbreak can manifest itself in a “whole wave of symptoms.” Those suffering may experience low-mood, lethargy, headaches, muscle and joint aches, and a loss of appetite leading to drastic weight loss. A balanced diet can be the remedy to cure a broken heart, according to the expert.

Photo of couple being burned
(Photo by Courtney Clayton)

He also says the broken-hearted should increase their intake of vitamin D and vitamin B — but advises that heartbroken patients check with their doctor before taking either.

Vitamin D helps regulate calcium and phosphate in the body – keeping bones, teeth and muscles healthy,” Dr. Tang says. “B vits can increase energy, reduce stress and turbocharge mood. Take time for yourself and speak to your close friends and family about your situation.”

“It’s important to discuss these feelings – preferably with a healthcare expert,” the doctor adds. “Sometimes medication can get people through tougher times and help them see the light again. Don’t bottle things up as this will only lead to further stress and prolong your symptoms.

“If you are really struggling, speak to your employer about making some reasonable adjustments to your work to ensure that you aren’t under too much pressure.”

No-nos After Heartbreak:

  • Bottling things up
  • Over indulging in refined carbohydrates and fried fatty foods
  • Eating processed foods

To-dos After Heartbreak:

  • Eat foods that are high in Omega 3 and Omega 6
  • Get enough fruit and vegetables and fresh produce
  • Eat regularly or your blood sugars can drop leading you to be tired irritable
  • Increase your Vitamin B and D intake

South West News Service writer Lydia Patrick contributed to this report.

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