Depression can be offset or even eliminated when your diet consists of nutritional and healthy foods. Indeed, certain foods are not just good for you physically; they also enhance your mental and emotional states as well.
There are many causes of depression and of course, if you feel that depression is a problem you should consult a licensed medical professional to get proper medical advice.
One of the, if not the most important considerations when planning a healthy lifestyle is diet; if you think about it, food is fuel for our body, and its livelihood, substance and wellbeing greatly depends on what we eat. Our physical state is highly affected by diet, so it makes sense that our brains and emotional state will be as well.
The More Colorful The Plate – The Better the Mood
Remember – “The More Colorful the Plate, the Lower the Weight.” That statement and nutritional adage refers to getting rid of the burden of depression too. While an unhealthy diet consisting of processed foods or sugar puts on weight, it apparently extends to how one feels or their emotional health.
You Are What You Eat
Evidently, you are what you eat and the more healthy the diet, the lower the incidences of mood swings or depressive episodes. Studies and research indicates that diets that are not packed with certain vitamins or minerals not only accelerate the aging process but also cause shortages in mood-enhancing chemicals, such as serotonin.
The Key to Alleviating Stress and Elevating One’s Mood
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter as well as a mood stabilizer. Therefore, it plays an important role in alleviating stress, anxiety, and depression. The following foods can increase the amount of serotonin that is produced in the bloodstream and enhance one’s overall outlook and mood.
- Fruits. One of the less-known types of serotonin-producing foods, fruits such as pineapple, sour cherries, plums and bananas are all good foods to eat to improve one’s mood. In addition, cherries contain melatonin, which is a natural sleep aid.
- Protein. Eating turkey, which contains tryptophan, increases the manufacture of serotonin in the brain. In turn, the food promotes feelings that are more positive. Other proteins that aid in serotonin production include seafood, eggs, whey protein, and beef. Try to select animal products that have not been raised with hormones, and choose grass fed or pasture raised products.
Another serotonin-boosting protein food is nuts. Nuts boost the manufacture of selenium, which is found to be lacking in patients suffering from depression. Lean meats and legumes contain selenium too. Because sugar-rich snacks can inhibit the production of serotonin, it is better to replace sugary or processed snacks with more natural foods, and whole foods, such as nuts or fruits and lean protein.
- Carbohydrates. Most carbs in the diet will boost the level of serotonin and reduce the incidence of depression including starches such as pasta, whole grain bread, and white potatoes. No wonder we love bread so much!
***Although they are good for depression don’t overdo it! I limit myself to one – two starches per day. If I have cereal for breakfast and rice with my lunch then I won’t eat any starch for dinner.
- Dairy. Dairy products make people feel happier too. Try such dairy foods as cheese and milk, each of which contain mood-boosting chemicals or produce an increase in serotonin.
Nutrients That Ward Off Depression
Beta-carotene is also helpful in relieving depression. Some of the foods in this group include cantaloupe, carrots, broccoli, and apricots.
Vitamin C-rich foods are helpful in fighting depression too. These foods are made up of citrus fruits, such as limes, oranges, and grapefruit.
Vitamin E not only plays a role in immune system functioning but contributes to nerve health as well – ameliorating any episodes of depression. Nuts, seeds, and wheat germ are all foods that contain vitamin E.
Change the Way You Eat and Increase Your Level of Activity
When it comes to alleviating depression in the diet, a healthy mix of complex carbohydrates combined with fruits and vegetables can help alleviate mood swings and depression in general.
Make sure that any processed snacks, such as chips or packaged cookies, are removed from your shelves and concentrate on eating fresh produce and fish.
Once you start eating healthier, you will have more energy and be in a better mood to exercise more, which can further elevate mood and stave off depression.
In fact, when you take part in an exercise activity, such as walking, jogging, or running, your body produces more of the mood-enhancing hormones called endorphins. Therefore, after a while, your mood will improve just by eating healthier and exercising more.
Research shows that people who follow this kind of approach do not need to take mood-enhancing drugs or anti-depressants if they make healthy eating and regular exercise a routine practice.