Did you know that eating healthier foods gives you a fighting advantage to get rid of anxiety and depression? On the other hand eating a diet of processed food does more harm to your body because they are high in sugars, unhealthy fats and additives.
At the time of this writing we have the Presidential election, the corona virus, many people are working from home and home schooling their children at the same time. Whew! We need all the help we can get, right? So reaching for the right foods in times of strife will nourish your body and mind.
There are approximately 10 times as many bacterial cells as human cells in the body. These bacteria serve many purposes including digesting the food we consume and even regulating your immune system.
This means that maintaining a healthy gut bacteria and overall diet can improve your mood.
So What Can I Eat?
Studies show that dark leafy greens like spinach, kale, and Swiss chard decrease inflammation, which has been linked to depression. Nuts are another powerhouse used to fight depression. The omega 3 fatty acids found in most nuts can reduce the symptoms of depression. Decreasing daily sugar intake can also help. Excess sugar in the diet decreases a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which can lead to depression if there is not enough of it being produced.
Though symptoms of anxiety and depression vary wildly among individuals, often these symptoms can follow someone for months if not years, slowly wearing your body down.
Here are a few simple examples of foods that can help lift your mood:
Fatty fish: “Fatty fish” may not sound appealing, but they are the tastiest and healthiest sea foods. Oily fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel, and trout are full of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 is a fatty acid highly connected to cognitive function (think brain food). Salmon and sardines are also a great choice being the few foods containing vitamin-D.
Now if you don’t like fish or if you really want to ramp up your mood get a bottle of Bio-Mega DHA. Some of my patients have really noticed a decrease in depression using this nutritional supplement. You can get it here.
Eggs: You probably already know this, but egg yolks are a great source of vitamin-D as well. They are a complete protein, which simply means they contain all the amino acids that your body needs to regenerate.
Brazil nuts: Often those suffering from mood disorders have a heightened level of inflammation. Brazil nuts are high in Selenium, an antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties. They prevent cell damage. They are loaded with vitamin E which helps prevent depression. Brazil nuts are also anti-carcinogenic which can help prevent cancers from developing.
Pumpkin seeds: Potassium is needed to regulate your electrolyte balance and manage blood pressure. Pumpkin seeds as well as bananas are a great source of potassium. Some studies indicate that pumpkins seeds can have a positive effect on mood thanks to their high zinc levels as well. Zinc is essential for the brain and nervous system, in fact the highest level of zinc in the body is found in the brain regions involved with emotion.
Chamomile– For thousands of years people all over the world have used Chamomile to achieve relaxation due to its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antioxidant properties. Some people believe that the relaxing properties of this herb come from the flavonoids present. That is why a cup of warm, aromatic chamomile tea is a great remedy for managing anxiety. Chamomile is featured in some of the most popular children’s stories such as Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Peter Rabbit.
Yogurt– Praised for its helpful bacteria, yogurt can be incredibly beneficial for many reasons. Gut health and brain health go hand in hand. Yogurt and other fermented foods can benefit the gut naturally all the while reducing anxiety and promoting happiness.
Green tea: Theanine, an amino acid found in green tea, has recently received popular praise due to its potential effect on mood disorders, such as Seasonal Affective Disorder. Theanine has anti-anxiety and calming effects which can increase the production of serotonin and dopamine. Green tea is easy to add to any diet and is a great substitute for soft drinks or coffee as green tea also contains caffeine. So since it contains caffeine avoid drinking it before bedtime.
WHICH FOODS SHOULD I AVOID?
Avoid foods made with added sugars or flours such as baked goods (donuts and pastries), breads, pastas, and cereals (especially cold cereals). One should also minimize or eliminate completely the consumption of processed meats such as bacon or bologna.
It’s important to remember that health starts from within. Maintaining a healthy balance of self-care, such as providing yourself with adequate sleep, hydration and physical activity is just as important as eating well. The road to wellness isn’t always paved, but the good news is that I am here to help guide you through this transformation.
If you are somebody who suffers from depression and you are looking for natural, holistic solutions, give us a call.
When you come to our clinic you will discover that we are not just an acupuncture clinic. We practice Chinese medicine, a complete health care system. That includes diet, herbs and nutrition. That is a big part of the healing equation. Make an appointment and we will design a health plan for you to flourish and conquer depression and anxiety.
To your health,
Steven Sonmore, L.Ac.