These days the high concerns for what we’re consuming and putting into our bodies are being linked to our chronic illness , excessive weight, constant pain, cancer, lack of sleep, the list goes on and on. But what about depression ? Can depression be triggered by what we’re eating ? With depression on the rise more and more every year especially with our youth and women. Is it fair to say we can look at our diets and see that most of us aren’t getting much nutritional value these days?
Fast Food (Photo credit: SteFou!)
We have to take a step back and realize what we are doing to ourselves and wonder if the illness, depression, and pain is our own cry for help. We’ve become a society that skips breakfast, snacks on diet soda and candy bars, runs to the nearest McDonald’s for lunch, grabs a coffee and a pastry for a mid-day pick me up, shovels dinner down from a box, foil, or plastic while standing up and watching the clock to making sure we’re not late to the next scheduled event. No wonder we’re sick, sad, and slowly killing ourselves!
So, what’s the solution? Get back to basics!! It’s a simple as that. We need to re-evaluate our lives, health, bodies, and families and figure out what’s more important.
Getting back from my rant… When we’re feeling sad and down our natural instinct is to grab the “comfort foods.” Which don’t get me wrong I love my southern foods and salted caramel gelato in the summer. And yes these things make me feel great and I indulge in them on special occasions, when I really want them, (which is in moderation) and sometimes on those really, really bad days I give into them because you just need that something to brighten your day, and sometimes the biggest bar of dark chocolate can change your whole mood and turn of daily events for the day.
When the sad, lonely, and depressed days continue for days, weeks, and months we need to look at our lifestyle. And the littlest changes can make all the difference. Studies prove diets high in processed meats , junk food , fried foods, sweets, processed sugars, snacks, and cereals, and large quantities of dairy are linked to depression. Here’s four ways to jump-start you back to being healthy but mostly to start feeling happy again.
Change your diet: Diets high in fruits, vegetables, fish, and lean meats boosts energy and brain function . Helping you to feel better faster. Try cutting out the not so good for you foods for a couple of weeks and see how your mood, personal appearance, sleep patterns, and overall energy changes. Reach for the good carbs. The brain needs carbohydrates to function correctly so skip the potato chips and go for whole grains, fruits like apples and bananas. These fruits will also kick those sugar cravings we all get mid-day.
Up your antis: Antioxidants that is! Eat foods high in minerals and nutrients. Berries and tomatoes are high in Vitamin D. You can also get a huge boost of Vitamin D from the sun so get outside for some rays and fresh air, there’s no way you won’t start feeling better as soon as you get out and breathe that spring air. Up your Vitamin E by eating more nuts and seeds. And don’t forget your beta-carotene by increasing your intake of sweet potatoes, collards, and carrots.
Eat the good proteins: Cut out the fatty meats and go for the leaner ones. Like fish, reach for salmon, flounder, and even tuna. Chicken and turkey are also great feel good proteins. Don’t forget your beans and legumes that are essential for healthy diets.
Maintain a healthy weight: Excess weight can wreak havoc on your whole system. Excess weight puts a lot of stress on organs so make sure to take care of yourself. Drink lots of water, get 6-8 hours of sleep, try to get 30 mins of exercise a day that can be anything from walking to pulling weeds.
Here’s to feeling better about ourselves, eating better, and living happier!