The right foods — like the following five — can stabilize blood sugar, eliminate mood swings, and boost neurotransmitters in the brain, all factors that influence your emotions.
1. An omelet — just don’t skip the yolk
Other examples: Lean beef, wheat germ, fish, poultry
Why they help: A diet rich in B vitamins can help lessen the severity of depression symptoms. B vitamins, especially B-6 and B-12, can help improve neural function — the way the neurotransmitters of the brain send signals, which helps govern mood. There’s also a growing link between vitamin B deficiency and depression. A 2010 study of 3,000 older adults followed over 12 years found that those with lower intake of these vitamins had a higher risk of depression, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
The protein in eggs (as with lean meats) helps you feel satisfied longer, stabilizing blood sugar. And eggs can be consumed in a variety of ways, from scrambled to used as a French toast batter to boiled and chopped up as a salad topper — so long as you go easy on the accompanying animal products that are high in saturated fats, like bacon or butter.
2. Nuts and seeds
Eat it for: The magnesium
Examples: Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, cashews, almonds, peanuts. (Green leafy vegetables and whole grains are also high in magnesium.)
Why they help: Magnesium, a mineral found naturally in nuts and seeds, influences production of serotonin, a “feel-good” brain chemical. Magnesium also affects overall energy production.
Bonus: Nuts are also a good source of protein and healthy fats. And as a whole food, they make a healthy alternative to processed snacks, provided you choose unsalted and unsweetened varieties. Salt and sugared coatings don’t add any health benefits and may make you overeat because they set up cravings in the brain for more and more salt or sugar.
3. Cold-water fish
Eat it for: The omega-3 fatty acids
Examples: Wild salmon, herring, sardines, anchovies, tuna (not more than once per week), rainbow trout, mackerel. Fish-oil supplements are a practical alternative for those who don’t eat these cold-water fish at least three times a week, Reardon says.
Why they help: There’s a reason fish is known as “brain food.” Fatty fish such as wild salmon contain the omega-3 fatty acid DHA, which has been shown to increase the membrane quality and nerve function of gray matter in the brain. Twenty percent of the gray matter in the brain is composed of DHA. Some studies have found that DHA consumption especially increases gray matter in the amygdala, the hippocampus, and the cingulate, three areas of the brain associated with mood. People with severe depression have less gray matter in these areas.
Fish is also a great source of lean protein, which stabilizes blood sugar. Eating small amounts of protein with meals can help keep your mood on a more even keel.
4. Ancient grains
Eat it for: The complex carbohydrates
Examples: Quinoa, millet, teff, amaranth, spelt, barley
Why they help: Complex carbohydrates take longer to digest, which means they don’t cause spikes in blood sugar that can create roller-coaster moods. Complex carbs also increase levels of serotonin in the brain.
While any whole grain is good, so-called “ancient grains” are even better, according to Reardon, because they’re less likely to be man-modified and processed. Packaged, processed, and refined foods made with wheat flour and sugar, in contrast, tend to be digested quickly, causing cause blood sugar to spike. When this happens, the body responds with an oversecretion of insulin, which winds up moving too much sugar into cells — and blood sugars plummet. The end result: poorer concentration, fatigue, mood swings, intense cravings, and overeating.
Ancient grains are increasingly available at mainstream grocery stores and big-box stores such as Costco and Sam’s Club. Look where rice products are shelved. Many ancient grains can be cooked like pasta or rice and served in their place as side dishes, in casseroles, or as a base for fish or chicken.
Bonus: Some ancient grains are a whole-grain alternative for those who are allergic to wheat or have gluten intolerance. (Barley, though, contains gluten.)
5. Green tea
Drink it for: The amino acid L-theanine
Examples: Hot green tea, brewed iced green tea — including flavored varieties like jasmine green tea or berry green tea
Why it helps: L-theanine is an amino acid found mainly in tea leaves; it’s been shown by EEG tests to stimulate alpha brain waves. This can improve focus while also having a calming effect on the body.
“Despite the caffeine, the L-theanine in green tea seems to be profoundly relaxing, with effects that last up to eight hours,” Reardon says. L-theanine is easily absorbed and can cross the blood-brain barrier, adding to its effectiveness.
Clinical depression is a serious illness that requires treatment beyond nutrition, changing what you eat can help beat garden-variety blues caused by stress, and will boost low energy, too.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, be sure to visit: http://www.caring.com
This content was originally published by Caring.com: “5 Food to Eat When You’re Depressed” and this excerpt reprinted here with permission.
Other non-food things to do
- Get plenty of sunshine. Natural sunlight is a proven cure for depression.
- Engage in regularexerciseat least three times per week. Exercise lifts and mood and alters brain chemistry in a positive way.
- Experience laughter. It’s goodmedicine.
- Take a quality superfood supplement to get even morenaturalmedicine from the world of plants.
Four more foods for beating depression from Naturalnews.com
Brown Rice:Contains vitamins B1 and B3, andfolic acid. Brown rice is also a low-glycemic food, which means it releases glucose into the bloodstream gradually, preventingsugarlows and mood swings. Brownricealso provides many of the tracemineralswe need to function properly, as well as being a high-fiber food that can keep the digestive system healthy and lowercholesterol. Instant varieties of rice do not offer these benefits. Any time you see “instant” on a food label, avoid it.
Brewer’s Yeast:ContainsvitaminsB1, B2 and B3. Brewer’s yeast should be avoided if you do not tolerate yeast well, but if you do, mix a thimbleful into any smoothie for your daily dose. Thissuperfoodpacks a wide assortment ofvitamins and mineralsin a small package, including 16amino acidsand 14 minerals. Amino acids are vital for the nervous system, which makes brewer’s yeast a no-brainer for treating depression.
Cabbage:Contains vitamin C and folic acid. Cabbage protects against stress, infection and heart disease, as well as many types of cancers, according to the American Association for Cancer Research. There are numerous ways to getcabbageinto your diet; toss it in a salad instead of lettuce, use cabbage in place of lettuce wraps, stir fry it in your favorite Asian dish, make some classic cabbage soup orjuiceit. To avoid gas aftereatingcabbage, add a few fennel, caraway or cuminseedsbefore cooking. Cabbage is also a good source of blood-sugar-stabilizingfiber, and the raw juice of cabbage is a knowncurefor stomach ulcers.
Also worth mentioning:Foods likeraw cacao, dark molasses and brazilnuts(high in selenium) are also excellent for boosting brain function and eliminating depression. Get rawcacaoand brazil nuts atNature’s First Law. Another source for cacao isNavitas Naturals.
Things to avoid
If you feel you are depressed or at risk for depression, you also need to avoid certain foods and substances. Some commonly prescribed drugs — such as antibiotics, barbiturates, amphetamines, pain killers, ulcer drugs, anticonvulsants, beta-blockers, anti-Parkinson’s drugs, birth control pills, highbloodpressure drugs, heart medications and psychotropic drugs — contribute to depression. If you are taking any of these, don’t quit them without talking to yourdoctor; but be aware that they may be contributing to your condition by depleting your body of depression-fighting vitamins and minerals.
You should also avoid caffeine, smoking and foods high infatand sugar. Keeping your blood sugar stable and getting B vitamins is important for stabilizing your mood. Cacao can be good for mood because it releases endorphins inthe brain, but watch out for milk chocolate and candy varieties high in sugar.
- Mood and Food (nourishednutrition.com)
- Good Mood Food: Cashews, Almonds, and Hazelnuts (donteatdirt.com)
- 5 Super Strengthening Nutrients and Vitamins to Encourage Brain Development in Children (refreshingnews99.blogspot.com)
- 10 Foods To Make You Happier (listverse.com)
- 10 Healthy Food Choices (mariadorfner.wordpress.com)