Some may think that there is no relation between what you eat and the state of your mind. This is a misconception, depression can actually be avoided, or at least lessened, by a healthy and nutritional diet. Aside from a physical benefit, there is a mental and emotional benefit to this type of diet as well.
The source of one’s depression could come from a number of different factors. It is advised that you seek the help of a certified or licensed profession for proper medical advice.
Take a second and think of fuel for your body similar to a car or any other machine runs on gas, oil, etc. The quality of what you put into that machine is 100% related to its performance and lifespan. I know this because I’ve seen the effects of having a car (and body) that has been either running on cheap products or hasn’t been tuned up or given an oil change in quite some time. Is it crazy to say that if you often eat the wrong types of food (burgers, pizzas, soda, etc.), this will affect your physical body followed by your mental and emotional state? I think not.
A More Colorful Plate = Better Mood
You may have heard the saying: “The more Colorful the Plate, the Lower the Weight.” This saying is also relevant if you want to rid yourself of depression as well as shed a couple of pounds. Not only does a diet full of processed and sugary foods make you fat, it also affects the way you feel. Sadly, the Standard American Diet or ironically the “S.A.D.” is full of just that.
You Are What You Eat
As generic or cliche as it sounds, you really are what you eat. Also, it is of no surprise that the healthier the diet = less amount of mood swings or depressive states. In order to delay the effects of aging, keep in mind that studies and research show that diets that are filled with the appropriate amount of vitamins and minerals produce an adequate amount of serotonin, a mood-enhancing chemical, while the latter will lead to a shortage.
How to Relieve Stress and Enhance Your Mood
As both a mood stabilizer and a neurotransmitter, serotonin is a chemical that helps with easing your stress, depression, and anxiety. With that said, there are a few types of foods that can help give a boost to the amount of serotonin flowing through your bloodstream:
Fruits: Some may be surprised by this but fruits like sour cherries, pineapple, bananas and plums are excellent for lifting your spirits. Also, cherries contain melatonin, a hormone that comes from serotonin. It is discharged when it is dark and helps with your circadian rhythm (sleep cycle).
Protein: Tryptophan is an amino acid found in turkey which raises the production of serotonin in one’s brain. Naturally, turkey is also a mood enhancer. It is not alone however, eggs, seafood, whey protein, and beef all help in raising serotonin levels as well. One caveat is that you should try to eat meats that have either been grass-fed, pasture raised, or hormone raised products.
Additionally, you should add nuts to your diet because they too enhance the production of protein. On top of that, they also have selenium in them which is a chemical that is scarce in many a depressed patient. Legumes and lean meats should also be added to the list of foods containing selenium.
One should note that eating snacks filled with sugar can stymie the manufacturing of serotonin. Therefore, it is beneficial to substitute sweets or other processed goodies with their counterpart, whole and natural foods. Lean protein and stuff you’ll most likely find without a bar code on it like fruits and nuts.
Carbohydrates: A good number of carb sources in one’s diet will raise your serotonin level and help with depression-related issues. You’ll want to add some whole grain bread, white and sweet potatoes, and some pasta (in moderation, of course).
Dairy: These foods will also make you feel much less stressed. Milk and cheese are both filled with mood enhancing chemicals and will also boost serotonin levels.
Nutrients That Keep You Depression Free
This pigment is found primarily in carrots but also found in broccoli, apricots, and cantaloupe. It can also be quite an aid in ridding yourself of depression.
Citrus fruits are another food that is excellent for staving off depression. They are abundant in vitamin C, here are a few of the main citrus fruits:
Vitamin E has a few benefits, one major one is being a huge factor in immune system processes and of course, aiding in preventing or alleviating depression. Wheat germ nuts, vegetable oils, and seeds all have vitamin E in them.
Change the Way You Eat and Increase Your Level of Activity
A nice healthy combo of complex carbs mixed with veggies and fruits can be a huge aid with either depression or any moods swings, period.
Ensure that you avoid any snacks that are processed, usually there are packaged (see cookies, chips, etc.). Also, focus on adding fish to your diet and consuming fresh produce on a regular basis.
It’s like clockwork, when you fix your diet you will more than likely begin to exercise a lot more often. This will only help with being less depressed and putting you in a great mood.
Note that the more you exercise, the more your body will begin to manufacture more endorphins which is another hormone that will better your mood. It’s complementary, exercise and a good diet will make you feel much better than a sedentary lifestyle.
In fact, there are studies done where the results showed that individuals who incorporate a routine of healthy eating and exercising do not need to take any anti-depressants or any mood-enhancing drugs. It’s simple, cut the bad stuff out of your diet and get your heart rate up with some kind of physical activity on a regular basis. This way, you don’t have to rely on expensive and sometimes harmful prescription drugs to make your body operate the way it can naturally.