For those who suffer from depression, the feeling of being held down against your will is a daily struggle. The good news, however is that there are ways to fight back and the beginning point is taking control of what goes into your body. The impact that food has on your mood is greater than you might imagine.
The food that you put in your body throughout the day can greatly affect your overall mood. Going from down to happy is as much about your food choices as anything else. The simple act of consistently making healthy food choices can lead to an improvement in mood fairly quickly. If depression is an issue for you, try making the food changes listed below. If you have chronic depression issues, talk to your doctor as well as following the food guidelines.
1. Kick sugar to the curb
You may hate to hear this, but sugar is a major contributor to negative moods. Unfortunately, it’s also highly addictive. Sugar has a way of making you feel great for a moment, but once it exits your blood stream, you are brought back to earth with a crash. The result is destruction to your body (including mood function) at a cellular level. Inflammation and stress take over and your body pays the price.
- The occasional treat is okay if you can handle it and not allow it to become part of your regular diet. Sugary foods should not be something you turn to for energy on a consistent basis.
- The crash you get when consuming sugar is not the only negative effect it delivers. You also risk adding weight, having skin issues, whilst also putting yourself at greater risk of diabetes.
- Note that grains are high in sugar and should also be eliminated or greatly reduced.
- More information can be found at The Sugar Impact Diet.
2. Eat more foods rich in nutrients.
Nutrient-rich foods will not give you the boost that sugary foods do, but the complex nutrient profiles of these foods feed your body at a cellular level providing your cells with what they need. The Paleo diet is an approach that focuses on eating the most nutrient dense foods. There is also a focus on minimizing pesticides and toxic chemicals – choosing organic foods. All of the foods in this category help improve mood and body function.
- More information can be found at Your Personal Paleo Code.
- The nutrition in whole foods can have a positive effect on your depression symptoms. Folate, thiamine, and magnesium have all been proven to help with mood elevation.
- You don’t have to be suffering from depression to feel the long term effects that the better nutrition can have on your mood.
3. Eat enough.
Many people eat too little when they attempt to make dietary changes. Be sure to eat properly sized portions regularly enough so that you maintain a steady flow of energy throughout you day.
Likewise, many of us have very hectic schedules so be sure to plan ahead. Hunger and drops in blood sugar have a great impact on bodily function including mood. Do what it takes to eat enough food as well as eating regularly.
4. Eliminate inflammatory foods.
Most people don’t realize it but they have food intolerances. The top culprits are dairy, gluten, eggs, nightshades and corn. You don’t need to get tested (unless you want to) to find out if you have food intolerances. Simply eliminate the most common inflammatory foods for at least 30 days and see how you feel. If you are feeling better, then you likely are intolerant to one or more of them. You can figure this out by reintroducing foods, one-by-one and assessing how you feel.
See The Virgin Diet: Drop 7 Foods, Lose 7 Pounds, Just 7 Days for an easy read on food intolerances and how to figure out if you may have one.
5. Stay hydrated with water.
Most of us know about the importance of drinking water, but you would probably be surprised to learn that it has an effect on your mood. Simply taking the time to stay hydrated may be all it takes to lift a lingering bad mood.
- There are a number of unpleasant side effects that come with mild dehydration. You can expect to experience fatigue, headaches, tension, and anxiety if you are not properly hydrated.
- It is also incredibly tough to focus and stay alert when dehydrated. Those feelings can all lead to frustration and negative thoughts.