Photo credit: Nathan Cowley Pexels

Good Foods, Good Mood

Have you ever thought about how your mood reacts to the foods you eat? Some say it is easy to become addicted to sugar, carbohydrates and processed foods. In today’s society, it is hard not to be. It can be appealing because wherever you look there are foods that are presented to you for convenience.

What Are You Buying?

Take a look at the middle aisles in your grocery stores. These are full of processed or high sodium foods. Or take a look at all the fast food chains throughout America. There are too many to count.  One could argue that the commercials on television are geared towards convenience and especially busy moms.

By staying away from these processed foods and gravitating towards eating raw, whole foods, you are increasing the likelihood to have a healthier, happier life. If you are fighting depression, these food choices become extremely important.

There is a reason why the more sweets and processed foods you eat, make you feel up at first, but overall prove to show a decrease in energy. Depression and depressed people need to pay attention to this article. The foods you eat in conjunction with simple lifestyle changes can make a major difference. It could be the difference between you suffering with depression or overcoming depression.

(DISCLAIMER: Medication-management is recommended by psychiatrists for those suffering with severe to extreme depression. A healthy diet can be a helpful factor in aiding your battle against depression. For mild to moderate depression, alternative treatment and modifications to diet can be noticeably helpful.)

Valuable Nutrition and the Brain

A research study published in 2017, called Dietary Patterns and Depression Risk: A Meta-Analysis concluded that the Western diet is associated with more depression. The diet outlined below shows to be linked to decreased depression. Based on the information, it makes sense to eat a healthier diet if you want to be happier. The study presents the following:

In total, 21 studies from ten countries met the inclusion criteria and were included in the present meta-analysis. A dietary pattern characterized by a high intake of fruit, vegetables, whole grain, fish, olive oil, low-fat dairy, antioxidants and low intake of animal foods was apparently associated with a decreased risk of depression.

A dietary pattern characterized by a high consumption of red and/or processed meat, refined grains, sweets, high-fat dairy products, butter, potatoes and high-fat gravy, and low intake of fruits and vegetables is associated with an increased risk of depression. The results of this meta-analysis suggest that healthy pattern may decrease the risk of depression, whereas western-style may increase the risk of depression.

These Foods Support Elevated Mood

Mussels contain B12 which is a vitamin that most of us are lacking. B12 and other B vitamins are helpful for improved mood and myelination of our brain cells. Mussels also have nutrients zinc, iodine, and selenium, which keep your mood-regulating thyroid on track.

Swiss Chard is high in magnesium which is a great vitamin for healthy sleep and decreased depression. (You cannot go wrong with any leafy, green vegetable, really.)

Spinach contains several other vitamins and minerals, such as potassium, magnesium, and vitamins B6, B9 and E. It is a nutrient-rich vegetable containing high amounts of carotenoids, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, iron and calcium. These are all great for optimal health and your brain cells.

Kale contains vitamin B and folate for our healthy brain development. Not to mention it has lutein to help with prevention of macular degeneration and cataracts as well as potassium, calcium, zinc, and Vitamins A, C and K.

Berries contain vitamin C and boost immunity; they also decrease depression, fatigue and increase motivation. They have fiber which is great for your digestive track. Blueberries are packed with antioxidants, called anthocyanin.

Blue Potatoes contain powerful antioxidants that provide neuro-protective benefits like bolstering short-term memory and reducing mood-killing inflammation. They have iodine in them as well which helps to regulate thyroid function.

Dark Chocolate, not to be confused with milk chocolate contains cocoa. Cocoa helps give you a boost of concentration and blood flow or increase mood overall.

Grass-Fed Beef– Animals raised on grass pastures boast much higher levels of healthy conjugated linoleic acid (or CLA); CLA works against stress hormones and decreases belly fat in humans. Grass-fed beef is leaner and contains higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids for your optimal heart health (compared to grain-feed beef).

Chamomile Tea brings about better sleep and improved cognitive function. This can be helpful during the winter months when our circadian rhythms are thrown off by the time changes.

Pumpkin Seeds contain omega 6-fatty acids and consumption of this type of fatty acid discourages depression from happening.

Red Peppers have concentrated levels of vitamin C and boost your immune system to lessen the likelihood of colds. Therefore, your mood is more stable not having to battle the common cold.

Eggs contain zinc, B vitamins, iodide, and omega-3 fatty acid. Plus they are high in protein which is good for your muscles and energy levels.

Tomatoes’ skin is source of lycopene, which is an antioxidant that protects your brain and fights depression-causing inflammation.

DISCLAIMER: If you have certain diagnosed medication conditions or food allergies, modifications or adjustments to eating these foods might have to be made.

How to Make Time to Eat Good Foods

You first might have to commit to this type of lifestyle change. That might mean choosing to stop eating at fast food restaurants. It could mean taking a break from processed foods and cleaning out your pantry.

When going to the grocery store, try to make a habit out of shopping on the perimeters of the store. Stay away from middle aisles where processed foods usually live.

When you are choosing to use raw and unprocessed foods in your diet, you might want to learn about meal-prepping and take time out one day of the week, like Sundays, to dedicate to cutting vegetables and cooking. In this way, you are making –ready-to-grab food options instead of eating quick foods that might not be the best choices.

Over Time Healthy Food Choices Make a Difference

These nutrient-rich foods help you live a healthier life. They help you live longer. Healthier foods keep your brain cells connecting optimally. It helps myelin. Myelin is a specialized, lipid-rich, electrically-insulating tissue. It is fundamental to neuron-to-neuron-electrical communication.

Depression and anxiety is happening to individuals because there is a problem with myelination. Myelination in the brain is compromised. It is especially compromised under stress. This includes being sad on a daily basis, having gone through a trauma or having high amounts of stress related to irritability, anxiety or worry.

Depression is characterized by abnormalities in the brain, including myelin. Now we can see the importance of getting enough folate and vitamin-rich foods can decrease depressive symptoms. These foods improve myelination. Chronic stress or mental illness can damage brain structure and connectivity. Wouldn’t you want to encourage healthy connections in your brain just by making healthy diet modifications? It is a simple fix you are in control of.

(DISCLAIMER: Medication-management is recommended by psychiatrists for those suffering with severe to extreme depression. A healthy diet can be a helpful factor in aiding your battle against depression. For mild to moderate depression, alternative treatment and modifications to diet can be noticeably helpful.)