One of the things that affects many of us this time of year, is seasonal depression. Even if you already suffer from it year round, seasonal depression can make it SO MUCH worse.
But there are ways to cope. Many of us may not give thought to how our diets effect out mental well-being.
Yes, medication can help, especially for those who need it, and exercise also helps reduce symptoms. But our diets are probably the most important of all.
First, lets look at the 5 things that you should be working on eliminating from your diet, and how dropping these items can really help.
Refined sugar has ZERO nutritional value. it affects depression by raising your blood sugar, then dropping you just as quickly, leaving you irritable and craving more.
Basically think of it as a drug. If you even realized how much sugar you consume in a day without really realizing it, I promise you would be nauseous.
Artificial sweeteners are extremely dangerous. They adversely affect the brain by altering neurotransmitters,the create a fake insulin response and slow the metabolism, anything that messes with my brain chemistry, is not going into my body. Period.
Trans fat isn’t real great for you to begin with, but aside being terrible for your heart, it’s even worse for your over all well-being. Trans fats cause inflammation in the entire body, including the brain.
However, small studies have shown that increasing good fats like Coconut Oil, Olive Oil ect, can actually provide significant protection against depression.
Too much sodium can dehydrate your body. if you are taking in more sodium than your body can handle, you become dehydrated, dehydration causes irritability, headaches and fatigue.
So what CAN you eat to feel better? You mainly want to stick with whole unprocessed foods as much as possible, really read labels and take stock of what goes into your body. Here are five top things that really help with depression. (And are yummy too)
Whole Grains stabilize blood sugar and keep you feeling steady longer than processed foods.
Quinoa (keen-wa) is one of my FAVORITE whole grains, it has fiber AND protein, just one cup of cooked quinoa provides 8 grams of protein.
Here is a terrific recipe from Lisa OZ involving Quinoa.My hubby and I enjoy this often.
– Leafy Greens
Kale, arugula, butter lettuce, spinach, ect. the darker the better! Leafy greens provide Folate a mineral that people with depression are often deficient in.
Try this recipe from Kris Carr for a “Sexy Kale Salad”
Greek yogurt is an excellent comfort food, it’s filling, full of protein and can help calm anxiety by stabilizing blood sugar. To cut down on the natural tartness, add honey or fruit to it, or try this tasty recipe from Dr. Oz.
It may be the caffeine or it may be the antioxidants it provides, but one cup of Black tea really can make you feel good. I adore this recipe from Mind Body Green, for homemade vegan Chai.
– Dark Chocolate
I love me some dark chocolate!!! I mean….chocolate…when your depressed…..YES PLEASE!! The darker the better. Here is the caveat….it HAS to be dark chocolate. it has he least amount of fat and the highest amount of antioxidants., and like everything, enjoy it in moderation. I eat one or two little squares a day, and I SAVOR EVERY LITTLE BIT.
Once you change the way you eat, and really start paying attention to what goes into your body, I promise, you will start to crave these foods.
I tried increasing my consumption of these foods this winter and I already am noticing less frequent depression flare ups. I am also noticing less Fibromayalgia flare ups, as these foods decrease inflammation, wich can cause a whole OTHER host of health issues.
Enjoy and eat well!!!