Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Food vs Depression

The food you put in your body not only affects your health and weight but it also affects your energy levels and most importantly for us, it affects your mood.

Food that is high carbs and high refined sugar are not great for depression. Whereas food that is high in vitamins, nutrients and lean protein can be beneficial. It is basically healthy food that is better for depression so if it works for you or not you are not doing yourself any harm by cutting down on food that is either full of junk or basically provides nothing for your body nutritionally.

Meats and Fish A meat that creates more serotonin (happy chemical) is turkey. It's lean, takes around 10-15 minutes under the grill for a turkey steak to cook and personally it's one of my favourites. Fish that is high in omega 3 is known as brain fuel. My dad used to tell me to eat omega 3 fish for tea the night before exams or a big day to give my brain a boost and I got good results so who knows maybe it was the power of omega 3!

Whole Grains 
Things like brown rice, brown pasta, barley, oats, quinoa, whole wheat bread and whole grain cereal. These are high in fibre, antioxidants, essential fatty acids, nutrients and protein. This means they give your body some of the essentials that it needs as well as energy.

Low fat dairy products give you a good amount of calcium and vitamin D. There is something in low fat dairy that links to feeling relaxed. I like a low fat Greek yogurt with banana for a good energy boost and it is very tasty. Warm milk can help you relax too as it contains tryptophan (an amino acid) that releases serotonin.

Nuts are rich in fibre, protein, minerals, fatty acids and antioxidants. They are a great source of nutrients. You only need a small portion a day so they are perfect for a snack. 

Fruit and Vegetables 
The best fruit and vegetables to boost your mood and give you energy are...
  • banana's- they are a source of potassium which is great for your brain and vitamin B6 that increases serotonin
  • berries- give you an energy boost due to their complex carbs
  • apple's- high in fibre that gives you a slow release of energy
  • oranges- a slow release of energy and full of vitamin C and potassium
  • spinach and broccoli- contains folic acid which as well as keeping you healthy increases your mood
  • olives and cold olive oil- olives have healthy fats in them which help make you feel calmer
  • sweet potatoes- increases serotonin and full of complex carbs
Herbs and Spices I have read that saffron, liquorice and nutmeg can help fight depression but I'm not sure of the science behind it. Any excuse to eat liquorice is good enough for me though!

There are a few herbal teas that can help you relax...
  • Green Tea
  • Camomile Tea
  • Kava Tea
  • Lemon Balm Tea
  • Peppermint Tea
It is important to keep hydrated and I would recommend warm boiled water. I swear by it to clear my head and it has loads of other benefits such as helping with digestion, keeping your skin clear, clearing a blocked nose and much more. It's nice with a squeeze of lemon or a spoon of honey in too.

Things to Avoid
Refined sugars
Lots of junk food
Processed food
Artificial sweeteners
Anything high in sodium
Hydrogenated oils

My Mood Boosters

  • Evening Meal- turkey steak, brown rice, garden peas and sweet chilli sauce
  • Lunch- sweet potato chips, sweetcorn and whitefish
  • Snack- apple, cucumber and cheese chunks
  • Breakfast- banana and low fat yogurt or a homemade fruit smoothie (mango, honey, pineapple, cranberry juice)
  • Treat- fruit flapjack with chocolate topping
  • Drink- warm milk or cranberry and raspberry juice
My problem is I tend to skip breakfast and eat junk even though I know for me that sugar really knocks my mood and I feel better eating healthy. Self sabotage or what! But I'll give it a better go if you will... deal?

Please note I am not in anyway trained to advise on diets and have found this information through friends and family that train in fitness, studied cooking and through research I have seen and tried over the years. Do your research and find what works best for you or speak to a professional if you have this option, especially if you have allergies or dietary needs.

Much love,

Becky xx

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