Do certain foods can cause depression and anxiety?
THE ANSWER IS YES!
The truth is that nowadays life is very stressful! Some of us have so much going on in our lives, and live with tiredness, anxiety, stress, depression and sleeping problems as a result!
Mentioned above are the mildest forms of mental problems, but they do get worse: from attention-defficit disorder to Alzheimers and schizophrenia! According to The World Health Organization, these disorders are on the increase and are quickly becoming the number one health issues in western societies.
The truth is that the brain is very sensitive to nutritional deficiencies! Essential fatty-acids known as omega-3 and omega-6 are intimately involved in brain functions that are associated with dyslexia, hyperactivity and depression.
This is why it is very important to consume good fats! A lot of us want to cut out fats, thinking that it is the best way "to lose a few pounds". However, the truth is, that not all fats are bad for you, nor do they make you put on weight, if you choose the right sources:
Rich in omega-3: flaxseed, hemp seed, pumpking seeds, walnuts, salmon, mackarel, sardines, tuna and eggs
Rich in omega-6: sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, corn, soybeans, wheat germ
There are also a number of nutritional imbalances that can make you prone to depression such as:
- Needing more fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6)
- Homocysteine, is it too high?
- Serotonin levels, do they need boosting with amino acids?
- Blood sugar balance
- Vitamin D
- Food intolerances, are they be making you sad?
The classic symptoms of depression include feelings of worthlessness or guilt, poor concentration, loss of energy, fatigue, thoughts of suicide or preoccupation with death, loss or increase of appetite and weight, a disturbed sleep pattern, slowing down (both physically and mentally), agitation (restlessness or anxiety).
If you are suffering with a low mood, whether you consider that it is depression or not, you should see your GP who can rule out medical causes, recommend counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy and psychotherapy, and assess your medication. Exercise is also very important and there is lots of evidence that regular exercise boosts mood, especially if you’re able to exercise outdoors in a green environment. Even a walk in the park or a stroll by the river is thought to be beneficial.
How to help you boost your mood through foods:
- Increase vitamin B:
Vitamin B6 is found in a wide variety of foods, such as:
- Intake good sources of amino acids: Rich proteins foods such as: beans, lentils, fish, eggs, etc...
- Balance blood sugar: The excess of sugar in your diet can cause you a lot of emotional damage to your brain making you feel very anxious and depressed. If you binge and eat like you can't stop you are only going to feel yourself worse and much more anxious!
FOODS LIKE THIS CONSUMED IN EXCESS CAUSE YOU AN IMBALANCE IN YOUR BLOOD SUGAR!
STOP FEEDING YOUR EMOTIONS! IF YOU ARE SAD GO WORK-OUT! EXERCISE RELEASE ENDORPHINS THAT MAKES YOUR MOOD CHANGE! FOOD IS FUEL NOT THERAPY!
However, it is important to remember that this doesn't mean that you have to avoid carbs at all costs! You just have to make better informed choices. Limit sugary foods and opt for smart choices (such as whole grains) rather than cakes and cookies! Include plenty of fruits, vegetables, and legumes, which all contribute healthy carbs and fiber. Carbs do help you feel satisfied and give you energy!
Vitamin D is just as important to make your mood change. It is important for people that are indoors most of their time to try to go for a walk and get some natural light even in the cold weather!
Drinking alcohol can make you feel very down and really impact upon your energy levels. It can also result in an unhealthy cycle of, the next day hangover, followed by poor dietary choices, followed inevitably by interrupted sleep patterns! All these factors leave us feeling tired and irritable. In addition, drinks and foods containing caffeine can trigger a feeling of anxiety, which in turn can make it difficult to get a good nights sleep. I find it really beneficial to exclude caffeinated drinks from my diet after midday. The benefit of getting a good nights sleep sets you up for a day with energy and a better mood to actually eat healthier!
Stay at a Healthy Weight
Findings published in the journal of Clinical Phisoclogy: Science and Practice, show a link between obesity and depression, indicating that people who are obese may be more likely to become depressed. In addition, according to this study, people who are depressed are more likely to become obese. Researchers believe the link between obesity and depression may result from physiological changes that occur in the immune system and hormones with depression. If you have a weight problem, talk with your doctor about healthy ways to manage it with diet and exercise.
Some foods make us feel calmer while other foods can act as stimulants — at least temporarily. If you experience stress and anxiety or panic attacks, making some modifications to your diet may help alleviate your symptoms.
Foods to eat:
- Salmon: Salmon not only has specific brain-boosting properties to fight depression, but also are good for overall health as well. They improve circulation and reduce inflammation and your overall risk of heart disease.
- Walnuts: numerous studies have demonstrated how omega-3 fatty acids support brain function and reduce depression symptoms
- Greek Yogurt: Is very high in protein so as well essential to keep the amino acid intake high!
- Variety of vegetables (specially dark leafy greens): These foods help to prevent cancer. They fight against all kinds of inflammation (including brain inflammation). Leafy greens are especially important because they contain oodles of vitamins A, C, E, and K, and minerals.
- Avocado: Avocados are power foods because, again, they contain healthy fat that your brain needs in order to run smoothly.
- Berries: Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries are some of the highest antioxidant out there.
- Beans: “Beans, beans, good for the heart. The more you eat, the more you … smile.” They stabilizes blood sugar levels. They help mitigate my craving for bread and other processed grains.And they are high in protein which this amino acids are very helpful to combat anxiety.
- Seeds: Flaxseeds, hemp seeds, and chia seeds are especially good for your mood because they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids
- Apples: Apples are high in antioxidants, which can help to prevent and repair oxidation damage and inflammation on the cellular level.