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Food and Mood: Eating to Prevent Depression

Posted Feb 24 2010 12:47pm

Eating healthfully is not only good for your body, it’s also important for your emotional well-being and what you eat can have a big impact on your moods. When you eat a lot of sugar, for example, your body releases insulin in large amounts to lower your blood sugar, which then causes your brain to release a neurotransmitter called glutamate that can lead to feelings of anxiety, depression, lethargy and general crankiness. Eating protein, by comparison, stabilizes blood sugar and makes you more alert. Furthermore, eating foods that are high in Omega 3 fats, such as salmon have been found to reduce symptoms of depression. There’s also evidence that a deficiency of the B vitamin folate (found in leafy green vegetables and legumes) can lead to depression , especially in the elderly.

A survey of 3,486 British civil servants looking at eating habits and symptoms of depression found that  eating a “whole foods” with lots of fruits and vegetables boosts mood , while a diet full of processed foods (such as fried foods, refined breads and cereals, sweetened desserts) may contribute to depression. Really no surprise here – what’s good for the body is good for the brain.

So what nutrients does a  whole foods die t contain that might provide protection from the blues? It could be all of those antioxidants and other phytonutrients abundant in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds. And, as I mentioned above, it could be the Omega 3 Fats found in cold water fish. All the more reason to eat a wide variety of whole foods every day to naturally boost your mood!

So eat well and….

Be Well,

Carolyn


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