29 Oct Food and Depression: Could the Right Diet Improve Your Mood?
If you have or ever had depression, you know that it can affect your relationship with food.
However, have you ever considered that the reverse is also true and that your diet might be directly affecting your mood? It makes sense—a bad diet affects your mood negatively, while a good diet affects it positively.
But how do we define a “bad” or “good” diet? There is no definitive way to say a diet is 100% good or bad.
Fortunately, it is easy to get an idea of a generally good or bad diet. If you feel that your diet and depression are negatively playing into one another.
The Relationship Between Depression and Diet
“You are what you eat.” Does this saying ring any bells? Well, there may be some truth to it!
A crucial factor in taking care of ourselves is being mindful of what we eat. For example, an apple will energize you more than a candy bar. Drinking a glass of water will make you feel hydrated, whereas drinking a soda may make you feel sluggish.
These are some generals that everyone realizes; but did you know that these feelings of sluggishness may be affecting your depression?
One of the best ways to naturally combat depression is through physical activity, but you’re much less inclined to be active when you feel sluggish. The more sluggish you feel, the more it plays into your depression. This cycle can easily become an endless routine.
Improve Your Diet – Improve your Depression
Because there is an obvious link between diet and depression, this means that improving your diet can lead to a healthier mood.
Only you can truly determine what diet works best for you, but odds are there’s room for improvement. Are you prone to skipping breakfast or simply drinking coffee in place of a meal? Not only does this start your day off negatively, but it can also add to feelings of anxiety throughout the day.
Or consider what you eat for snacks. Do you go for something convenient from the vending machine? Taking a simple step and bringing a healthy snack from home can save you from that mid-afternoon energy drop and keep you feeling vitalized and focused.
By making simple, little changes to your diet, you will likely see drastic changes in your energy levels and overall mood.
Making Better Choices
The commitment to a better diet is a long-term one. You may want to improve your diet, but until you fully commit to making better choices, you may fall back into the same ruts.
Foods such as nuts, lentils, almonds, spinach, chicken, and fish are all great foods that help with cognitive function and mood balance. On the other hand, caffeine and alcohol are both examples of depressants. Sure, they may make you feel good initially. However, once that initial high wears off, they leave you feeling more depressed than before.
No one is saying you have to say good-bye to your beloved cup of coffee to be less depressed; it’s all about moderation! If you still enjoy coffee or wine, you shouldn’t keep yourself from moderately enjoying them. Just be sure to consciously decide to eat a healthier meal or snack, and you will have struck a great balance.
There is no black and white way to define a “good” or “bad” diet. However, there are foods known to be great for cognitive health whereas others are not. It’s all about figuring out what works best for you and you alone—don’t focus on what works well for others.
If you feel like you can’t strike that balance on your own, don’t hesitate to seek out help. A therapist can help you recognize what specifically works for you when it comes to diet and depression.
Depression is hard to live with and finding the right diet to complement your mental health can be even harder. The sooner you seek out the help you need and regulate your diet, the more manageable your depression will become!
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