Chocolates, junk food, ice cream – these are only some of the many unhealthy and sugary foods you eat every time you feel down and blue. In fact, you refer to them as “comfort foods” because they make you feel better, right? Or does it?
Yes, eating comfort food can change your mood for a few minutes. However, the negative feelings are still there and it’s only waiting for the right time to get back into action. Then you’ll return to comfort food, also known as the unhealthy stuff – and the cycle never ends. The next thing you know, it is already taking a toll, and not just on your waistline, but also on your overall health.
Junk Food Blues
The truth is that there are many things that contribute to depression. Apparently, only a few people notice that what goes inside their mouths can contribute to it, too.
Based on preliminary research, a poor diet can make one vulnerable to depression. British researchers analyzed more than 3,000 middle-aged office workers for five years and found out that those who ate more junk, such as processed foods, chocolates, fried foods and high fat dairy products are more prone to depression.
On the other hand, those who stick to healthy diet, such as fruits and vegetables are less likely to feel depressed. Apparently, the connection between depression and poor diet still requires further study. In the meantime, it won’t hurt if you stick to nutritious foods, don’t you think?
In that case, here are 10 foods that can help beat the blues.
Don’t you just love eating turkey during Thanks giving dinner? Aside from being a staple food on the dining table during Thanksgiving, did you know that turkey could also be an alternative to treating depression?
Okay fine, all lean proteins are good for getting rid of depression. Among them, turkey is your best bet. It contains high levels of tryptophan, a chemical that stimulates the production of serotonin, also known as a feel good chemical. This could be the reason why you feel good after Thanksgiving dinner, aside from the sumptuous food you ate.
If you’re not a fan of eating turkey as it is, add it to a sandwich, soups or rice. It works the same no matter how to prepare it.
Feeling blue? Then munch on some walnuts. Just like the lean protein family, the nuts family is also a good source of monounsaturated fats that are good for the heart. However, walnuts take the top spot since they are one of the richest plant-based sources of Omega 3 and tryptophan. In fact, the omega 3 fatty acids from walnuts can even support overall brain health.
If you’re not into walnuts, you can go for Brazil nuts as an alternative. They are rich in a mineral called selenium, which can help minimize symptoms of depression, anxiety and irritability. Munching on Brazil nuts can make you feel better, too.
3. Low-Fat Dairy
Dairy products are rich in calcium, protein and vitamin D. However, you need to choose the proper type of dairy products. This is where low-fat dairy products such as low-fat cheese, yogurt, and skim milk come into play.
Low fat dairy is rich in calcium and vitamin D, aka the powerhouse nutrients. At the same time, this food group contains certain peptides or proteins that can contribute to a sense of well-being and relaxation. Aside from being a great source of nutrients, it only shows that low-fat dairy is also excellent in combating depression, too.
So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and munch on yogurt and any other low-fat dairy products. It’s much healthier for you.
4. Whole Grains
When you read anything about healthy diets, for sure, you will always come across whole grains as part of the list. Of course, it deserves a spot. After all, it is an excellent source of fiber, which can make you feel fuller longer.
Did you know that whole grains could beat depression, too?
If you want to kick your blues to the curb, healthy and high-fiber carbs, such as whole grains and brown rice can be your best friend. It offers tons of health benefits to your body and at the same time, makes you feel good and helps improve your mood quickly. That’s not all. Complex carbohydrates such as whole-wheat pasta and oatmeal help release serotonin, or the feel-good chemical. This is exactly what you need when you’re feeling down, don’t you think?
5. Fatty Fish
Omega 3 fatty acids are one of the important nutrients your body needs to keep it healthy and functioning. In fact, health enthusiasts recommend higher intake of Omega 3s since it is heart healthy, too.
When it comes to Omega 3, one of the best sources is fatty fish, which includes salmon, bluefish, tuna and mackerel.
Foods rich in Omega 3 help calm the nerves and keep you in a happy state. That’s not all.
Omega-3 from fatty fish has brain-boosting properties can kick depression, improve circulation and reduce inflammation. The result is improved overall health.
So, go ahead and eat up. It gives your skin and hair a certain glow, too.
6. Green Tea
Don’t you ever wonder why Asians, specifically Chinese and Japanese are so fit and slim?
Well, it’s because they are tea lovers. In fact, a meal is never complete without tea on the table. When it comes to tea, green tea will always be on the top spot.
Aside from keeping your weight at bay, green tea is also an excellent depression-buster. According to studies, green tea is full of antioxidants that can help improve your health.
But that’s not all. Green tea contains an amino acid called theanine. Theanine, you will find in tea leaves, has anti-stress relaxation benefits, giving the tea drinker a relaxed alertness. It can make you focused, calm and more concentrated.
Yes, this is a perfect alternative to coffee, so don’t forget to make one first thing in the morning.
7. Dark Chocolate
Hmm, chocolate lovers will be happy on this one. The truth is there are two kinds of chocolate: the healthy, dark chocolate and the sweet, unacceptable types, like milk chocolate, for example.
While the last type is more delicious, it’s the first type of chocolate is healthier and can curb depression.
Dark chocolate specifically that with 70 percent or higher cocoa content can boost your mood in mysterious ways. It releases serotonin or the feel good chemical and relaxed the blood vessels in the cardiovascular system.
However, be careful on this one. Yes, it can kick depression but too much dark chocolate can take a toll on your waistline too. Dark chocolate contains 150 calories per ounce so make sure to eat a small piece at a time.
If you really insist on eating chocolates, not the dark ones, you can snack on chocolate-dipped strawberries for a healthy treat. Strawberries are good sources of vitamin C, which can produce endorphins or happy hormones. They are high in mood-enhancing flavonoids, as well.
8. Chicken Soup
Ever wonder why your mom or grandma always gave you a bowl of chicken soup when you’re sick? Surprisingly, a single sip can make you feel better and lifts your mood instantly.
In fact, a collection of Chicken Soup for the Soul books were created to give tribute to this ultimate comfort food.
This is because a bowl of chicken soup contains a water-protein-fiber trifecta that fills you up, even before it fills you out. However, it is important to include lots of veggies in your soup, like carrots, celery, onions and garlic for an extra nutritional boost.
The next time you feel worried or down and blue, make yourself your own chicken soup. It’s going to make you feel better. Plus, it’s good for your body, too.
You always read about fruits and how important it is to include it in your diet. Undeniably, fruits are excellent sources of important nutrients and even healthy amounts of sugar.
If you are looking for a good source of nutrients to help you chase away that depression, then this is where bananas come in.
Bananas are naturally high in sugar, which is effective in giving you a boost in case you’re feeling down. Aside from this, bananas are also great source of tryptophan, an essential amino acid that can increase serotonin and eventually give your mood a boost. This fruit is also rich in magnesium that can help you relax, and vitamin B6, which combats depression.
Not bad for a fruit, right?
There’s a reason why Popeye loves spinach so much. When he needs a booster, he’ll just munch on the entire can of spinach and he’s as strong as Samson is. The same thing can happen to you, sans the muscles, of course.
Spinach can save the day, especially when you need a midday boost. It has essential nutrients to increase the blood flow to your brain and help you recall information that you need to remember. This is a perfect food to munch on instead of the usual greasy potato chips and sugary soda.
You see, what goes inside your body matters a lot. Make an effort to live a healthy lifestyle and eventually, your body will realize that depression has no place in it. But if your depression still won’t lift, it’s time to visit the doctor to look into things further.