In many ways, the brain acts like a computer. It serves as a memory bank, an information database, and the central control station for the rest of the body. Just like the files downloaded on a computer can affect its performance, the foods partaken can alter the function of the mind.
Food affects your mood!
It’s important to be aware that your daily diet has a direct correlation to your brain and how it operates. Some foods are harmful and can even trigger mood disorders such as depression.
What is depression?
Depression is a common and serious neurological disorder that negatively affects how one feels and behaves. Some symptoms associated with depression include increased sadness, anxiety, loss of appetite, dejected mood, and a loss of interest in pleasurable activities.
On a global scale, 350 million people are affected by depression. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) states depression is the leading cause of disability in America among people ages 15-44.
The total economic burden of depression is around $210 billion per year in the United States.
What’s wrong with what I eat?
What most people eat for “comfort food” is ironically producing the most harm. Research concludes there is a significant link between diet and depression. An unhealthy diet consisting of high amounts of refined sugars and processed foods can trigger inflammation in the brain. If homeostasis of the brain is disrupted, then it only makes sense to expect consequences. A recent study published in BMC Medicine in 2017 revealed that those with clinical depression who’d chosen a healthy, vitamin-rich diet improved their marks on the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS). The results were so spectacular that some had extremely low scores, meaning they no longer met the criteria for depression, achieving remission.
Which foods are best for treating depression?
In treating depression with a nutritious diet, it’s important to stay consistent and selective. Foods that encourage a healthy brain include:
- Vegetables and fruits
- Raw unsalted nuts
- Eggs and fish
- Olive oil
- Lean meats and dairy
- Unprocessed, whole grains
Just as there are foods to incorporate in your daily intake, there are several to eliminate. Harmful foods include:
- Refined sugars
- Fried food
- Processed foods
- Hydrogenated oils
Watch those sneaky eating habits.
Comfort eating is a huge problem. When a stressful circumstance arises, most people crave sugary foods as an escape. A quick fix. The issue is, that these foods can alter your mood negatively, sinking you in a more dejected state. Plus, consuming high carbohydrate foods can affect your health in the long run. Instead, try establishing healthy habits. It may take diligence, but your body—and mind!—will thank you.
Don’t forget the probiotics!
In 2015, an article published in Harvard Health explains the benefits of taking probiotics (supplements containing the good bacteria). The information reveals that probiotics can help reduce anxiety levels, perception of stress, and overall mental outlook in those who consistently take the supplement in comparison to those who don’t.
Listen to your body.
If a certain food triggers negative impulses in your mind, such as agitation and sadness, then cut it from your diet. Pay attention to how a particular food makes you feel, not just in the present moment, but throughout the day and the following day. Conscious eating will benefit you and your overall health.
Bite into a positive way of thinking by removing harmful eating habits and incorporating a healthy diet. Food can really change your life!
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