The relationship between food and actual mood disorders, such as depression, is less clear. Can the things you eat influence your risk for depression — and can dietary changes potentially improve your mental health? A recent study suggests that certain foods may influence your risk for depression — and there are several dietary changes you can make to help your mood. Others studies have found that people who suffer from depression tend to be more likely to eat diets high in processed foods and sweets, suggesting a connection between how you eat and mental health. Thus, the healthy habits you believe in may be contributing to your depression, according to new research.
It is not just what we eat that affects our mood, but how it is prepared and served. The right food can make all the difference in the world during this time of year. As the weather begins to turn colder and dreary, you may experience winter blues. To help combat those feelings, try eating certain foods known to help boost your mood. The foods we eat not only affect our mood but our sleep patterns and our energy levels and that can impact us throughout the entire day.
Recent research has linked obesity to depression and poor mental health. However, not all studies show the same results. Numerous studies have linked obesity to depression and other mental health issues in older women. Researchers are continuously working to understand the role of diet in depression and other mental health issues. While there is still much to learn, various studies have found links between diet and depression. For example, a 2005 study found that obesity was not associated with depression or dietary factors. In contrast, a 2011 study found that women who ate more vitamin D–rich foods had a lower risk of depression than women who got less vitamin D in their diets.
Overall, there’s insufficient evidence to say whether a diet rich in sugar-sweetened soft drinks, refined grains, and red meat relates to depression. But conclusively linking your diet with your risk of depression is another story. It is not yet possible to identify a single nutritional factor that increases or decreases the risk of depression. A 2014 study did find an association between depression and a diet rich in sugar-sweetened soft drinks, refined grains, and red meat. Similarly, a 2018 meta-analysis published suggested that high consumption of meat could be associated with the risk of developing depression. However, at this point, there are so many different factors associated with depression it is not possible to tease out exactly how much a specific food or dietary pattern affects risk. If a poor diet can cause depression, then an abundance of dietary factors may be able to trigger the condition. Unfortunately, there is limited evidence regarding the risk of depression associated with unhealthy dietary habits. Apart from this, a diet high in sugar and meat, which some have linked to depression, has not been proven. Other studies have suggested that certain foods may contribute to depression, but these are not necessarily the answer.
A Mediterranean-style dietary pattern could protect against depression, Modifiable lifestyle factors such as dietary choices, smoking, and physical activity could potentially affect depression risk but do not act independently. While there is no guarantee that what you eat will prevent depression, it is linked to many other healthy aspects of mental health. A Mediterranean-style diet, rich in fruits, vegetables, olive oil, whole grains, and lean protein such as chicken and fish, and low in red meat and unhealthy fats is associated with a lower risk of depression, in combination with other healthy habits, such as maintaining a healthy weight, reducing smoking, and exercising regularly.
There is an overall benefit to adopting the Mediterranean-style diet, not just for reducing your risk of depression. In addition to its potential impact on depression risk, the Mediterranean Diet has been associated with several other health benefits. For instance, research shows it may lower blood pressure and heart disease risk, improve cognitive function, and lower diabetes and cardiovascular events. It is recommended that an overall healthy, high-quality dietary pattern like the Mediterranean Diet for these reasons as well as for an overall lower risk of other chronic conditions that in themselves may later increase your risk of depression.
How Does Food Affect One Mood?
Whether you are feeling burnt out by the holidays or anticipating spring’s return, seasonal shifts can cause us to crave comforting foods. Winter blues are no fun. Blame it on the short days and cold weather that make you crave comfort food. Regardless of your mood during the winter, you will find comfort in knowing you are not alone in feeling blue. In a study, there are people who felt blue during the winter and fall months reported more emotional eating, as well as snacking on starchy foods and sugary foods in the evenings. People who tend to get down during the winter might want to consider rethinking their approach to eating. Thus there is some listed food that should be cut off during the time of winter such as:
- Starchy foods
- Processed foods
Sweets and flour-based foods give you the energy you need to plow through the day Sweets and snacks with sugar give you a quick energy boost, but their low nutritional content could leave you with low energy and in a down mood later. Instead, try some spicy chickpeas or roasted nuts with peanut butter as a healthy alternative. Not only are those going to give you a great crunch, but they also give you a great boost of nutrients.
Food Which Can Boost Your Mood
Food can affect your mood in a positive way. Eat more of the foods that make you happiest, and you will see results. You know what you should be eating, but it is still hard to make it all fit into your daily routine. It is said that the secret to adding food that can change the way you feel is to start slowly. You might be surprised by the foods that can lift your spirits. Add one new food a day, and you will soon see an improvement in your mood.
There is some food that can help in boosting a person’s mood such as:
- Food High in Vitamin D: If you are more emotional during the winter months, there is a good chance your levels of vitamin D are low. During the winter months, people who have more emotional eating have been shown to have lower levels of vitamin D, which is associated with more anxiety and depression. You should also look for items fortified in vitamin D like milk, yogurt, and cereal. During the winter months, people who have more emotional eating have been shown to have lower levels of vitamin D. Work in foods rich in vitamin D like red meat (limit to less than 6 ounces per week), mushrooms, egg yolks, tuna, salmon, and sardines. You should also look for items fortified in vitamin D like milk.
- Food High in Vitamin C: Since vitamin C helps to maintain a healthy immune system, it can be of real help with various other diseases such as anxiety, Alzheimer’s disease, and depression. Vitamin C is also essential for good vision. Thus, one of the best things you can do to help your immune system and boost your mood is to add foods that are high in vitamin C. If you are hoping to increase your vitamin C intake, try oranges, mangoes, lemons, kiwi, broccoli, bell peppers, and strawberries. But be sure to get enough vitamin C as part of a balanced diet; one food item cannot make up for what you are missing all day long by eating junk food.
- Food High in Protein: If you are looking for food that gets your brain and mood pumping, look no further than protein-rich foods like beef, chicken, turkey, and eggs. Those foods are linked to higher levels of dopamine and norepinephrine, which are brain chemicals that play an important role in our mood, our motivation, and our concentration. But when it comes to a vegan they can opt for chickpeas, lentils, or tofu to get that much-needed protein fix.
- Sweet Potatoes: Need some quick, easy ways to lower your blood sugar? Try sweet potato. Sweet potatoes are healthier and can help lower stress levels. They are also higher in vitamin A, which may help fight against the onset of wrinkles. They are also rich in magnesium which helps to lower the anxiety level.
- Beets: If you are feeling stressed or anxious, this is the time to start thinking about what you can do for your health. Beets are a good bet, especially if you are feeling anxious or stressed. Beets can lower your blood sugar. Eating beets can also help lower your blood pressure in just a matter of a few hours.
- Walnuts: Walnuts help you feel more focused and alert, walnuts can also help boost your memory and attention, as well as improve your mood. For example, a study in which participants were given a handful of walnuts for five days showed a significant reduction in appetite hunger, and cravings for starchy and sugary foods.
- Cocoa: Cold weather can be tough on your body, but as the holidays approach, you can look to some of the food and beverages that are known to be soothing — like hot cocoa. Not only will a cup of hot chocolate bring warmth to your home, but it is also full of antioxidants called polyphenols. These nutrients work on your brain to help promote concentration levels and focus.
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