By Adrian Zupp
Could eating certain foods help with stress relief? We’ve all heard that diet is a key part of good health. But did you know that what you digest can actually have a direct effect on your moods? Eating the right foods can combat depression, give you short-and long-term “lifts,” and improve general mental health over the course of your lifetime.
“Eating ‘mood foods’ seventy-five percent of the time will help you find more energy, think more clearly, and drop additional pounds,” says Elizabeth Some, author of “Eat Your Way to Happiness.”
To get you started, here are a few tips (this is by no means an exhaustive list!):
- Get your fruit and veggies! No secret here. The more the better for general health and a healthy brain.
- Specifically: oranges – the Vitamin C gets that oxygen pumping through your body and brain; spinach – tons of antioxidants and a mighty stress fighter; berries ’n’ cherries – try blueberries as a daily snack for antioxidants that keep those neural pathways running smoothly, and cherries – which contain melatonin – to help with sleep.
- Fish, rich in omega-3, is kind to brain cells and helps both mood and memory. Try salmon, mackerel, herring and sardines.
- Chicken soup with fresh veggies is always a big-win health food. Load it with dark green and orange vegetables and get a boost of vitamins that improve mood, and promote brainpower and immunity.
For more tips on mood foods, check out “Foods to Help You Feel Better” from WebMD. It’s important to remember that if you want to enjoy ongoing positive effects, you need to be consistent in your food choices. That doesn’t mean you have to ditch fries and soda altogether, but be aware of what you’re putting into your body, make the junk food the exception rather than the rule, and stick with the healthy foods and really give them a chance to have a positive effect. Make them a habit. Chances are you’ll feel better both within yourself and about yourself. So it’s all good!
Eating right is an important step in helping people cope with depression, anxiety, PTSD or other mental health issues. To learn more about your own mental health, take a free, anonymous self-assessment.
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