How you can boost emotions with your diet

Junk food might be the tastier option, but it does very little for our health, both mental and physical. Eating too many saturated and trans fats can lead to a high cholesterol, increased risk of coronary heart disease and other health problems. But what many people aren’t aware of is that a poor diet that’s high in these fats can also lead to depression. This is because trans fats cause inflammation in the heart and brain, which can lead to us feeling sad and withdrawn. Though researchers are unsure why these aspects of food lead to depression, there is a definite link to what we eat and how we feel. However, it’s not as easy as blaming it all on the crisps and biscuits. Nutritional deficiencies could also be connected to symptoms of depression.

It seems that the more processed foods we eat, the more depressed we’re likely to become. Researchers believe that people who prefer to chow down on sweets over fruit and vegetables could be skipping vital antioxidants, which help to protect against depression. They will also be skimping on folate which protects the neurotransmitters in the brain. Studies claim that patients with depression have around 25 percent lower folate levels compared to healthy people. While scientists can’t say for sure that eating junk food for dinner is a direct link to mental health problems, there is evidence mounting that it doesn’t aid your emotional stability either. But knowing what to eat for a healthy mind is the difficult part – which nutrients offer the most effective results?

It’s difficult to know for sure which comes first, poor nutrition or depression, as the two are closely linked. It’s no surprise that depression leads to us making poorer diet choices though, so it stands to reason that improving your diet will help you make clearer choices when it comes to meal times. If you’re depressed, then you need to up your intake of vitamins and minerals which can fix the damage caused internally. B vitamins can start this process off, as they are essential for healthy and happy bodies. B12 can help to balance the chemicals in the brain to keep us calm and collected. These are found in fortified cereals and organ meats, such as turkey giblets and beef liver. Folate, which is another B vitamin, can be sourced from dark green leafy vegetables and citrus juices. Omega-3 fatty acids can help to lower the risk of depression and anxiety so make sure you add some fish into your diet, with salmon and mackerel being the best choices. Don’t eat fish? Walnuts, soybeans and flax seeds are great substitutes. Carbohydrates are also important, as these trigger the production of serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter and regulates your mood. You want to add complex carbs, rather than sweets, to have a lasting effect on the chemistry in the brain.

People who eat more processed foods are far more likely to develop depression than those who opt for wholesome organic foods. A balanced diet can do wonders for your overall health and well-being, not least improving your mental health and fending off the blues. You should aim to for plenty of nutrients across the board, paying close attention to omega-3s, folates, B vitamins and complex carbs to make sure that the brain is releasing the hormones and chemicals it needs to stay happy. However, if you’re seriously depressed and your diet isn’t making a difference to your mood, you should speak to your GP who can devise a personalised plan for your treatment.


*Our content is not intended to provide medical advice or diagnosis of individual problems or circumstances, nor should it be implied that we are a substitute for professional medical advice. Users / readers are always advised to consult their Healthcare Professional prior to starting any new remedy, therapy or treatment. Your Wellness Group accepts no liability in the event you, a user of n-gage and a reader of this article, suffers a loss as a result of reliance upon or inappropriate application of the information.

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