Depression and anxiety are a huge problem in the United States. There is a good reason too, one in four adults are affected by depression, especially women. The result is an overabundance of prescribed anti-depressant medications.
According to Daily Mail, depression hits an estimated 350 million people worldwide. It touches every aspect of your life from your sleep patterns to the overall quality of life.
The fact is we often hear how serious depression can be and how it can lead to suicidal thoughts. No one talks about how depression and anxiety are linked to a poor diet. Research studies found that there is a connection between diet and mental health.
Dr. May Simpkin, from Daily Mail, reported that she believed depression is a symptom of an imbalance in the body. When a patient reveals that she is feeling down and depressed, Dr. Simpkin suggested her first thought is she has a nutritional or hormonal imbalance.
“Food plays a key role and it is vital to look at the diet and consider whether there are any deficiencies that may be contributing to the development of mood imbalances as well as considering the management of mental health issues or prevention in the first place.”
The Mental Health Foundation found that of those who reported feeling depressed, many consumed a poor diet. They lacked eating fresh fruits and vegetables and often consumed a high sugar diet. They said their food plan included chips, chocolate, ready-made meals, and ordered take out often.
Based on Dr. Simpkin’s research, she put together three health tips for those who struggle with depression and anxiety. She believes that if you follow them, you will see a reduction in your symptoms.
Get Enough Protein
The feel-good neurotransmitters, serotonin, and dopamine are all composed of amino acids, also called protein. The body does make some amino acids on its own, but to combat the blues, you must make an effort to eat plenty of protein.
If your diet is lacking healthy amino acids, the body will not be able to make enough, and the result will be depression and anxiety. To prevent this, be sure you eat enough protein from chicken, fish, quinoa, eggs, tofu, milk, cheese, beans, and yogurt.
B Vitamins Are Your Pals
Your body needs B vitamins to convert amino acids into neurotransmitters. If your diet lacks B vitamins, you will not produce enough serotonin and dopamine — thus, could feel depressed and anxious.
Instead of getting your vitamins through supplements, experts suggest turning to food. The easiest way to include more B vitamins in your diet is to select whole grains, spinach, kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils, and pecans.
Stay Away From Sugar
If you have a tendency to feel down and depressed, health experts say to stay away from sugary drinks and foods. According to research, if you stay away from refined sugar, in time, it will help stabilize your mood.
Refined sugars enter your bloodstream quickly, giving you a sudden burst of energy. The downside is, it doesn’t last long, and to keep feeling energetic, you have to consume more sugar. The result is you feel tired, lethargic, and jittery, which can make your depression and anxiety much worse.
Instead of nibbling on a piece of chocolate, health experts recommend you turn to a bowl of oatmeal or starchy vegetables like sweet potato or carrots. To get the most out of their energy properties, pair it with a healthy dose of protein (chicken, fish, or eggs).
Nutritionists recommend if you need to lose weight, to do so, slowly. Start by eating a well-balanced diet and exercising regularly.
Do you think there is a link between diet and depression and anxiety?
[Featured Image by Juta/Shutterstock]