If you suffer from depression, you sure know how important it is to have all the possible resources available to overcome this disorder effectively. Healthy eating can become your best natural therapy to improve your mood and feelings. And a good diet can be a strong support to help you to fight against anxiety and depression, two of the most common health problems in our society.
Foods that make up your usual diet have a determining influence in your mood. Starting out from this premise, several scientific studies have shown that taking care of what you eat can help to improve some symptoms of depression.
In fact, the brain requires a series of essential nutrients in order to work properly. These can also have a positive influence on emotional disorders such as depression. These are Vitamin D, E, B9, B1 and B12, Omega 3 fatty acids, fibre and minerals such as magnesium and calcium.
Also, some foods encourage the body to secrete serotonin and endorphins, the main ingredients your body needs to make you feel better.
The importance of serotonin
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter we all have in our body, and a lack of it can lead to emotional disorders such as depression or anxiety. To ensure we produce enough of it, we need to ingest tryptophan. This amino acid comes from foods like cheese, eggs or fishes like salmon.
These yummy foods can boost your serotonin almost immediately. Good news for vegans and vegetarians: tryptophan can also be found in tofu and many seeds or nuts.
Foods against depression
Although there are many foods that can have favourable effects on depression and help us to feel better, it is worth taking into account some of the most effective:
Turkey and chicken
These two types of white meat are very rich in tryptophan. Introducing them into our regular diet, we can be sure of secreting enough serotonin to generate a sensation of well-being.
A daily dose of nuts, especially walnuts, is essential for providing the body with the dose of monounsaturated fatty acids needed for a proper work of the cardiovascular system. Also, nuts stimulate good mood, as we said above. They’re even good for concentration and if you need an extra push with energy. Really helpful too during sping asthenia and
Drinking green tea has a host of beneficial effects for the organism. So it is a really good idea to begin each day with a green tea smoothie combined (why not?) with other raw vegetables like spinachs or fruits like apples. Green tea contains theanine, an essential amino acid that has a relaxing action and guards against depression.
If you eat salmon, sardines or other oily fish, you’ll ingest the amount of omega 3 fatty acids you need to help your brain stay healthy and to release serotonin. It is proved that eating fish at least twice a week can help you to decrease depression around 25%. And yes, as you probably hear around, fish may lower the risk of having a hear attack. But it is also said this kind of fish may even be good for the grey matter in your brain.
A moderate dose of dark chocolate is a delicious treat for most people, and also a superfood that will help you to be healthy. It contains antioxidants and also stimulates the production of, again, our friend serotonin, reducing also the amount of stress hormone in your body. But no, that does not mean you can eat one bar per day, sorry.
Whole grains like oats or quinoa has many beneficial properties. They are good for digestion, help you with snacking and even may improve your immune system. They have fibre, essential carbohydrates, folic acid and vitamins that prevent the body from losing energy.
You may well use the delicious flavour of this spice to improve some of your recipes, but what you probably don’t know is that it also helps you with your physical and mental health. It is effective as an anti-inflammatory and for treating joint problems. But it is an excellent ally improving your mood and your memory too.
Foods to avoid if you have anxiety or depression
Now that we know foods and drinks can have a positive impact in our mood and emotions, we can also guess there are plenty of foods that can make us feel worse. Forget about sugar, artificial sweeteners and processed food: There are many studies that shows how a high glucose levels in blood can affect neurons negatively. Alcohol and caffeine will not make you feel better either, even though you really think you are funnier with two glasses of red wine. Of course, any kind of processed food or fast food will not help your mental or physical health. That does not mean you can not eat a hamburger outside once in while but definitely it is nod a good idea to include this food in your weekly diet.
Healthy eating is essential if you want to be in good physical and emotional shape. Any extra help you can get to go through the day when you are depressed or feeling anxious is always welcomed. But don’t forget there are many things you can do to overcome this disorder.