If you suffer from depression, it may be difficult to find ways that can help you with your feelings of despair and sadness. Here are some ways that you can use food to improve your mental health as well as your outlook on life.
Add More Whole Grains
Whole grains are always a healthier choice than their alternative of refined grains, but they can also do a great job of boosting your outlook. Having a diet that contains plenty of whole grains has been observed to lessen symptoms of depression and other mental illnesses. As well as being good for you, whole grains stabilize blood sugar levels, which are a major factor in mood swings, and this is especially beneficial for those who have diabetes or are pre-diabetic. Whole grains are also a catalyst into many other healthy habits, like exercising regularly and finding hobbies that will help elevate your mood.
Make Your Favorite Foods Healthier
Everyone has a few sweets and treats that you love to indulge in when you are feeling down. Sometimes, though, having too much of a good thing can lead to weight gain, increased cholesterol, and other unhealthy side effects. A simple solution is to find more nutritious alternatives to your guilty pleasures. For instance, if you love brownies, finding a recipe for healthy brownies will still allow you to enjoy their chocolatey goodness without the calories or saturated fats. Simply swap out regular ingredients for bananas and applesauce, and cut the calories in half. You can apply this philosophy and make changes to your favorite snacks to enjoy them completely guilt-free.
Increase Fruit and Vegetable Intake
It is always a good idea to ensure that you are getting enough produce into your diet, as fruits and vegetables contain most of the vitamins and minerals which can benefit your health and well being. However, many of these foods, when consumed raw, offer significant advantage for your mental health. There is a studied and proven correlation between the amount of fruits and vegetables eaten and mental health, regardless of traits such as age, gender, or socioeconomic status. Although raw is recommended to maximize the impact on your mental health, incorporating vegetables in any form is better than lower levels of consumption.
Eat More Fish
Fish are a great source of good fats and healthy protein. Studies have also revealed that they are extremely effective at helping to prevent the onset of depression. Fish contain nutrients such as omega 3 fatty acids can help increase levels of hormones such as serotonin and dopamine, both of which are responsible for happier mood and overall positive outlook on life. Fish also usually correspond with a healthier diet in general, so the link is even stronger between fish and better mental health. Stick to consuming healthier species of fish, such as salmon and tuna, and you will improve your mental health as well as your diet and the nutrients that your body is receiving.
Try Healthy Snacks
Sometimes when you are dealing with depression, cooking an elaborate meal or planning your food for the week can seem near impossible. Luckily, there are many types of snacks to reach for that are good for you, but do not require prep work. Blueberries are well known as one of the fruits with the highest amount of antioxidants, which are good for lessening inflammation and contributing to brain health. A handful of walnuts can reduce your risk for heart disease and other cardiovascular conditions, as well as lower your chances of depression. Always keep a few snacks on hand in case you are going through a depressive episode, so you do not turn to unhealthy foods.
Having depression can be frustrating, and it can be overwhelming to consider making changes to your diet. However, with these tips, you are guaranteed to eat more nutritiously, as well as help boost the chemicals in your brain to battle depression.