Food is a powerful fuel that our bodies require to operate, and depending on what we put into our bellies, our fuel-choice can significantly affect how we feel and go about our daily lives. Although there is no specific diet proven to relieve the symptoms of depression, there is evidence to show that certain foods can affect our mood and well-being.
Research has shown that gut bacteria play a crucial role in mental health and wellness. Although the connection isn’t yet well-understood, we know that fermented foods such as kimchi, kombucha, sauerkraut, and miso can influence the health and diversity of the gut microbes.
Vitamins are crucial to maintaining both physical and mental health. Incorporating vitamin-rich foods such as eggs, meat, fish, and leafy green vegetables and supplementing with oral vitamins when needed is shown to reduce the risk of mood disorders, like depression.
Recently, research has shown a connection between low serotonin and carb-cravings. Carbohydrates are linked to serotonin, a mood-boosting chemical present in the brain. However, it is essential to choose carbs wisely, as too much of a good thing can quickly turn bad! Stick to fruits, legumes, and vegetables, while avoiding “complex” carbs like grains and pasta.
Similar to carbs, protein also contributes to the production of serotonin levels in the brain. Try to incorporate high-protein foods, like chicken and turkey, white meat, beans, legumes, and yogurt, throughout the day, to boost your mood and clear your mind.
Antioxidants occur in a ton of every-day foods that you may not even be aware of! They are responsible for removing free-radicals, which are waste-products that can build up in the body. If there is too much of a buildup, oxidative stress can develop which can cause a number of health issues, one being depression.
Eating fresh, plant-based foods can up your antioxidant intake. Stick to easy, yummy fruits like blueberries, raspberries, cabbage, and even dark chocolate!
Although food cannot magically cure depression, eating a healthier diet full of foods that are not only delicious, but nutritious and specifically chose for your wellness can greatly improve the way you feel and function mentally.
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