Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Depression Linked to Food Choices - Choosing Healthier Foods to Take Away Your Blues

Have you ever ate a really nutritious meal and felt uplifted, as if the meal took away your blues? The body is intelligent and will give you signs when it is not fed properly - depression being one of those signs.

The reason you feel better when you eat the right foods is that you are getting the proper balance of nutrients, vitamins and minerals. You are aiding the balance of neurotransmitters in the brain. Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that send messages between the nerves and brain. For example, the chemical messenger serotonin is capable of elevating mood and self-esteem.

Someone who is depressed will often become locked into a destructive eating cycle, yet as soon as their body receives a good balance of foods, they will feel much better. The best way to break this cycle is to avoid unhealthy food and eat plenty of fresh fruit. Fruit contains sugar, so it satisfies cravings for sweets, and the body absorbs sugar so slowly that the gradual rise in your blood-sugar levels encourages a more consistent production of endorphins. This means the more fruit you eat, the longer you will feel happier.

Depression & Allergies

Food allergies can trigger depression. Allergies to food can upset levels of hormones and other key chemicals in the brain, resulting in symptoms of depression. The most common foods associated with allergies are cow's milk, chocolate, wheat-gluten, oranges, eggs, peanuts and sugar. Dietary exclusion of the offending foods can help minimize depression and increase energy levels.

Planning a Diet for Depression

Omega-3 fatty acids have a strong anti-depression effect and are primarily found in salmon, mackerel, trout, sardines, flaxseed and walnuts. Spinach and kale contain omega 3 oils. Fatty acids are essential for the brain to function properly. Eating meals regularly can help minimize mood swings that are the result of low blood sugar levels. Try eating smaller meals and a healthy snack in between. This is also a great tip for weight loss.

Drink 1/2 ounces of water per pound of body weight m-i-n-i-m-u-m in a 24-hour period. So if you weigh 150 pounds, you need a minimum of 75 ounces of water daily.

Take vitamins during breakfast, especially B vitamins which are directly linked to the nervous system and mental function. Many minerals are linked to helping depression, such as calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc and selenium.

Complex carbohydrates like brown rice are actually the best route to a healthy blood sugar level and stable mood.

Boost your serotonin with amino acids. Serotonin is made in the body and brain from an amino acid 5-Hydroxy Tryptophan (5-HTP), which in turn in made from another amino acid called tryptophan. Tryptophan is in many protein rich foods such as meat, turkey, fish, beans and eggs. Balance your blood sugar. Refined sugar and refined carbohydrates (white bread, pasta, rice and most processed foods) is linked with depression. They supply little nutrients and use up the mood enhancing B vitamins.

Stay away from caffeine, sugar and alcohol. Alcohol is a depressant and will worsen your mood. Paying attention to what you eat is the first crucial step in fighting depression. Reversing nutritional deficiencies will remove stress on the hormone system and help prevent mood swings.

Bring your body back to it's natural balance through healthy food choices.

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