Eat To Beat Stress And Depression
Do we really eat to beat stress and depression? Not really, says a nutritional expert. Macaroni, cheese, chocolate chip cookies, fried chicken and ice cream are just some of the bad foods women turn to for comfort when we’re feeling emotionally strained, depleted or depressed, says Kathie Swift, MS, RD, LDN, co-director of the Food as Medicine program at the Centre for Mind-Body Medicine in Washington, DC.
These foods can make us feel better for a few minutes, until the negative mood swings back into action. This is often due to the way certain foods raise and lower blood sugar, or disrupt our bodily systems in other ways. Eating too much of one type of food, or not enough of a certain nutrient, can have both short- and long-term effects on your mood.
There are terrific foods that bring real, long-lasting comfort when we are stressed or depressed. Reaching for a banana topped with almond butter instead of a cookie can begin a simple, life-altering shift that may help you ward off mood problems, as well as lessen the impact if they do occur.
“The choice you make at the plate absolutely influences how you’re going to feel,” says Swift. “Food is a very powerful modifier when it comes to depression and the brain.”
By selecting food for meals and snacks that contain a balance of several beneficial nutritional elements, you can create what Swift calls a “depressive defence portfolio” and strengthen your brain and body in ways that boost emotional health.
Foods that will help beat stress and improve your mood
Gail Platts of Gorham, Maine, discovered the power of using food to help with mood when she was in college and was interested in natural ways to manage anxiety and depression. She started eating more sunflower seeds, fish and other magnesium-rich foods because she believed they could help.
Swift agrees, explaining that magnesium helps improve mood and energy by producing and supporting the brain chemical serotonin. Women frequently have insufficient amounts of magnesium in their system, she adds.
8 stress beating foods high in magnesium include:
Foods high in magnesium include:
- Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds,
- Peanuts, soy beans,
- Black beans,
- Salmon, halibut, oysters
- And grains such as buckwheat, quinoa, oats and brown rice.
“Just being aware that some foods are better choices for stress and depression influences my food selection on a regular basis,” Platts says.
Read more about how to beat depression here.