A Daily Dose of ‘Healthy’ to Prevent Depression and Anxiety

We often get a little anxious with the ups and downs of life. But if you’re experiencing intense and constant worrying, then you might have an anxiety disorder which could lead to sudden episodes of fear or panic attacks that lasts for a few minutes.

Anxiety is oftentimes experienced with a succession of intense physical signals such as heart racing, sweating, muscle tension, and stomach discomfort headache.

And if you’re feeling empty, sad, or you’re having trouble eating, sleeping, and concentrating for more than 2 weeks, you might have depression.

Only a few are aware of the connection between depression and nutrition while people easily understand the connection between natural deficiencies and physical illness. Nutrition plays a key role in the onset and at the severity and duration of depression.

Looking at the diet of people diagnosed with depression, it is noticeable that their nutrition is far from satisfactory. People with depression often make poor choices in food selecting those that may contribute to depression.

Nutrients such as Omega-3 fatty acids, proteins, carbohydrates, B vitamins, and minerals are the most common deficiencies found in a depressed person.

Boost Your Mood with Food

Whatever challenges life can bring, we will be able to handle it when our spirits are high. But it is hard to lift your spirit up when you’re hungry, or when you don’t have enough nutrients in your body.

There are quite a few things that you can do to stabilize your mood -food-wise.

BREAKFAST IS IMPORTANT.

How many health-blogs have you read? Did they mention to eat your breakfast? Always remember that eating a balanced breakfast can take you anywhere. It improves your mood, gives you a better memory, and it boosts your energy all day long!

Every morning include food with lots of-

  • Nutrients
  • Fibre
  • Lean protein
  • Unsaturated fats (to balance out whole-grain carbohydrates)

BOOST YOUR NUTRITION INTAKE.

Keeping good nutrition is key to a healthier life. You can improve your mood by keeping a balanced diet. You should eat foods that contain the lacking nutrients in your body.

This includes:

Omega-3 fatty acids

Have more omega-3 fatty acids in every meal. This could be found in fish and some plant foods. Omega-3 fatty acids can be a mood stabilizer playing a role in mental well-being.

Plant foods rich in omega-3s is found in:

  • Broccoli
  • Canola oil
  • Cauliflower
  • Purslane (a herb)
  • Red kidney beans
  • Walnuts
  • Algae

Proteins 

Hair, muscle, skin, nails and brain cells,  are just some parts of the body that are based in protein. High-quality protein diet includes all essential amino acids. 

Protein intake can affect brain functioning and mental health.

Foods rich in high-quality protein include:

  • Eggs
  • Milk and other dairy products
  • Grains
  • Beans
  • Peas
  • Meat

Carbohydrates

Serotonin contains a “feel-good” chemical that communicates “happy” messages to the brain. Basically, the more serotonin circulating in our bloodstream, the better our mood is.

Here are several components of food that could influence serotonin levels in our brains, as well as those that come with fibre and other nutrients:

  • Beans
  • Fruits
  • Whole grains
  • Vegetables
  • Dark chocolate

Vitamins

  • Vitamin D
  • B-complex vitamins
  • Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamin)
  • Folic acid (folate)

Eating folate-rich foods can help people that suffer from depression.

Folate-rich foods include:

  • Asparagus
  • Beans
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Lentils
  • Orange juice
  • Spinach
  • Tofu

Minerals

  • Calcium
  • Chromium
  • Iodine
  • Iron
  • Lithium
  • Selenium
  • Zinc

ALWAYS EAT HEALTHY.

Dehydration, low blood sugar levels, preservatives or chemicals found in processed foods like artificial flavourings and colourings, can cause mood changes in some people. If your anxiety worsens after you eat, immediately observe your eating habits and slowly change it to a healthier one.

Always stay hydrated, eliminate eating processed foods, and eat a healthy diet rich in carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables, and proteins.

This GUT-feeling

Sometimes our stomach can reflect what we are feeling emotional.  When we feel stressed or anxious this can make our gut to slow down or speed up.  

To have healthy digestion, you need plenty of fibre and fluid with a regular exercise.

Healthy gut foods include:

  • Beans
  • Fruits
  • Live yoghurt
  • Probiotics
  • Whole grains
  • Vegetables

If you feel a little stressed out and you think your gut is affected, do some breathing exercises and relaxation technique.

Avoid these Foods if You Have Anxiety or Depression

  • Fruit Juice

Eat your fruit in whole, when thirsty, drink water. The fibre in fruits will fill you up but it slows down how blood takes in energy. Without fibre, you’re just drinking water with sugar.

  • Toast

Toasts made with white bread should be out from your grocery list because it’s made from the highly processed white flour. If you crave for a toast, just use whole-grain bread.

  • Coffee

Coffee can cause nervousness and jitters and it could also mess up your sleeping routine. This is not good if you’re anxious. Caffeine can also trigger panic attacks. If you cannot cut off caffeine, try drinking decaf coffee, it can actually make you feel less depressed. 

  • Alcohol

As a natural sedative, drinking a glass of wine when your nerves are shot can calm you at first. When the buzz is over, anxiety might return with vengeance. Avoid alcohol dependence.

  • Regular and Diet Soda
  • ‘Light’ Dressing
  • Ketchup
  • Energy Drinks
  • Frosting
  • Soy Sauce
  • Processed Foods
  • Doughnuts

It is really tempting to use food in treating anxiety or depression. Take one step at a time in changing your diet, over time, you will notice a big difference in how you feel. While research on food and mood is still on the process many of these foods will keep you healthy.

Experiment. Discover vegan versions of doughnuts, ketchup and dressings. They are much healthier and …even tastier!

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