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Foods to help you overcome anxiety and depression
Did you know that eating healthier foods gives you a better chance to reduce your anxiety and depressive symptoms? Eating a diet of processed food does more harm to your body due to the fact that those foods may be high in sugars and fats.
Additionally, it’s known that there are approximately 10 times as many bacterial cells as human cells in the body. These bacteria serve many purposes including the curation of Vitamin K, digesting the food we consume and even regulating our immune system.
This implies that maintaining a healthy gut bacteria and overall diet can improve your mood.
So what can I eat to help anxiety?
Studies show that dark leafy greens like spinach, kale, and Swiss chard decrease inflammation, which has been linked to depression. Nuts are another powerhouse used to fight depression. The omega 3 fatty acids found in most nuts can reduce the symptoms of depression. Decreasing daily sugar intake can also help. Excess sugar in the diet decreases a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which can lead to depression if there is not enough of it being produced.
Though symptoms of anxiety and depression vary wildly among individuals, often these symptoms can follow someone for months if not years, slowly wearing down the body.
Here are a few simple examples of foods that can help lift your mood:
Fatty fish: Fatty fish are high in omega-3. Omega-3 is a fatty acid highly connected to cognitive function. Salmon and sardines are a great choice being among the few foods containing vitamin-D.
Eggs: We probably already know this, but the egg yolk is a great source of vitamin-D as well. They are a complete protein, which simply means they contain all the amino acids the our bodies need to grow and develop properly.
Brazil nuts: Often those suffering from mood disorders have a heightened level of inflammation. Brazil nuts are high in Selenium, an antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties. Brazil nuts are also anti-carcinogenic which can help prevent cancers from developing.
Pumpkin seeds: Potassium is needed to regulate the electrolyte balance and manage blood pressure. Pumpkin seeds as well as bananas are a great source of potassium. Some studies indicate that pumpkins seeds can have a positive effect on mood thanks to their high zinc levels as well. Zinc is essential for the brain and nervous system, in fact the highest level of zinc in the body is found in the brain regions involved with emotion.
Chamomile- For thousands of years people all over the world have used Chamomile to find relaxation thanks to it’s anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antioxidant properties. Some people believe that the relaxing properties of this herb come from the flavonoids present, this is why a warm aromatic chamomile tea is a very popular remedy for managing anxiety.
Yogurt- Praised for it’s helpful bacteria, yogurt can be incredibly beneficial for many reasons. Gut health and brain health go hand in hand. Yogurt and other fermented foods can benefit the gut naturally all the while reducing anxiety and promoting happiness. If you have a dairy allergy or sensitivity, use an alternative like coconut yogurt, So Delicious is a great brand!
Green tea: Theanine, an amino acid found in green tea, has recently received popular praise due to its potential effect on mood disorders, such as Seasonal Affective Disorder. Theanine has anti-anxiety and calming effects which can increase the production of serotonin and dopamine. Green tea is easy to add to any diet, and is a great substitute for soft drinks or coffee as green tea also contains caffeine.
WHICH FOODS SHOULD I AVOID?
Think: fried, fatty, fake foods…
Avoid foods made with added sugars or flours such as baked goods (donuts and pastries), breads, pastas and cereals. One should also minimize the consumption of animal fats, processed meats such as bacon, and even butter.
Studies show that high sugar foods, can trigger anxiety as it can cause blood sugar fluctuations.
It’s important to remember that health starts from within. Maintaining a healthy balance of self-care, such as providing yourself with adequate sleep, hydration and physical activity is just as important as eating well.
Using food as medicine is just one piece of the complete wellness circle!
If you would like a customized nutrition plan tailored toward you individual goals. Give our office a call at (425) 686-4498 to set-up your initial consultation.
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Dr. Ellie Heintze, ND, LAc
- Master’s Degree in Acupuncture
- Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine
- Master’s Degree in Chemistry
Northern Arizona University
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