At Starting Point Acupuncture, we offer integrative care to help address all pieces of the wellness puzzle to help you body stay "in-tune" from the inside-out. To learn more about how we can help you, best next step is to schedule a consultation with Dr. Heintze, (425) 686-4498!
Mood Food: Using food as medicine to help depression
Many have heard the question posed what came first, the chicken or the egg? But how does that concept apply to depression? It’s well-known that when we’re depressed, our motivation and interest in maintaining a healthy and balanced diet subsides in the same way our energy does.
Harvard Medical Students positioned that same question in relation to depression; what came first, depression or a poor diet?
Thankfully, researchers have addressed this question and found that a healthy diet was indeed associated with a significantly decreased risk of developing depressive symptoms. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine, patients were treated for two years with antioxidants or placebos. After two years, those who were treated with antioxidants had a significantly lower depression score.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
Eating healthy foods gives you a better chance to reduce your depressive symptoms than eating a diet of processed food that 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.
Mood food: WHAT SHOULD I EAT?
As you know by now…Food IS Medicine. Suggested foods to eat are lots of green leafy plants (including fruits and vegetables), gluten-free whole unprocessed grains, seeds & nuts, and lean proteins such as chicken or fish.
Let’s break it down further to know what you can eat to promote mood food!
To Decrease Inflammation:
Spinach, Kale, Swiss Chard, Berries, Mushrooms and Onions.
Mood Food Boosting & Good Fats/Omega 3:
Walnuts, chia seeds, Fish (salmon, tuna and sardines), and even certain brands of egg or yogurt.
Avocado, cheese, pasta and meats such as chicken, beef or pork
Load up the Antioxidants:
Raspberries, strawberries, blueberries and blackberries are some of the highest antioxidant foods available to us. Other foods include sweet potato, oranges, and peppers.
Folic acid and alpha-lipoic acid:
Tomatoes, broccoli, spinach and brussels sprouts.
“No” foods aka WHICH FOODS SHOULD I AVOID?
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.
Curbing depression and enhancing mood is a holistic approach
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.
In my practice I advocate for a well-rounded approach to curb depression, diet is just one piece of the wellness puzzle. Another key piece is exercise. Studies have shown the vast benefits of exercise on mood, just walking for 15 minutes a day can work to boost mood, also like mood food for the brain!
Don’t forget about the other pieces of the wellness puzzle as mentioned above: sleep, hydration, finding underlying medical causes/triggers for depression, and prevention.
At Starting Point Acupuncture, we offer integrative care to help address all pieces of the wellness puzzle to help you body stay “in-tune” from the inside-out.
To learn more about how we can help you, best next step is to schedule a consultation with Dr. Heintze, (425) 686-4498!
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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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