Depression Hurts – Foods that can heal

Have you ever felt down in the dumps? I’m not just talking about getting sad about something in general and then being able to move along with a simple smile and mindset shift.

 

I’m talking about downright feeling depressed. Heaviness. Exhaustion. Fatigue. Sadness…these are some of the feelings that may come.

Getting help is key but there’s also much to be said about the foods we eat that have long term effects on our moods and overall well being. These are what has been helping me offset the sad moods more often and even when they hit; they are much shorter lived than in the past. What have you got to lose besides feeling unhappy more than you need to? I’ve even been able to completely get off of my medications that I needed for a time but it takes consistency to daily habits so don’t go thinking you will feel happy as a clam after one healthy day, got it? 🙂

As I’m sure you’ve done in the past (or even presently), I see many people reach for unhealthy food choices when they have a bad day. Think deep fried foods, fast foods and anything with an overload of sugar and chocolate. These are commonly thought of as “comfort” foods but they are actually making matters worse in the long run. These food choices make us feel tired and sleepy, they raise our blood sugars – only to come crashing down soon after. They leave us feeling bloated, agitated, sick to our tummies…not to mention still hungry and wanting more. Do you know??

Wouldn’t you rather have foods that are both delicious and good for you while helping to boost your moods at the same time? I know I would! (oh, wait, I actually DO!).  The first step is to realize that we should start to change the response of reaching for foods as comfort when dealing with a bad day. This only creates an emotional eating pattern; and one I fought years with. The tips I’m sharing here have helped me overcome the patterns and led to a happier mood more often than not.

Here are some food sources to start adding in today, and why:

1. Walnuts and flaxseed

I know, “walnuts”? Right? I mean you hear that peanut butter is so yummy and popular and then there are so much to be said about almonds, which are good sources of healthy fat and some protein but let’s talk a bit about why walnuts and flax is going to be a game changer. Simply put, these contain Omega 3 fats and these not only help with cognitive function (aka: knowledge, memory, reasoning, attention, language, etc) but also help to improve our moods. (happy time more often!) Why? Because Omega 3s alter our brain chemicals of dopamine and serotonin, which is linked to our moods. Low serotonin levels are linked to depression and anxiety (bing bing bing!) so it’s pretty easy to understand why this is critical.
2. Vitamin C rich fruit and vegetables 

Do you remember your mom shooting vitamin C shots into your veins when you were a kid? (oh wait, that was me and I’m slightly exxagerating but it felt like it!). We know it’s good for our immunity but did you also know it’s great for our moods too? Those who are low in vitamin C can feel fatigued and depressed because of it. Some of your best sources come from fruits and veggies such as; oranges, strawberries, kiwi, papaya, berries, dark leafy greens, broccoli and bell peppers…so eat up those colors!

3. Swiss Chard

Ewwww!! Right? Wrong! Let’s talk about why this makes the list…this is a dark leafy green that is high in magnesium. Magnesium is an essential nutrient for the biochemical reactions (the transformation of one molecule into another molecule within a cell) in the brain that help to give your energy levels a nice boost. If your life is filled with stress, then you need magnesium rich foods. Swiss chard is on the list…so go get some! 🙂

4. Bananas

One banana, two banana, three banana, four (not sure why this popped into my brain but it had to be said..) Bananas are filled with potassium, we know, right? But did you also know it’s another magnesium rich food and super healthy to add to your daily diet? They also contain tryptophan (an important amino acid that converts into a mood lifting hormone serotonin. #winning) and are great as a quick pre-workout snack, when mixed with a tablespoon of natural almond butter. YUM!

5. Raw cacao

So you know how chocolate helps raise our moods, right? (and is most likely the best “excuse” we come up with when we get the craving!) The reason it helps boost our moods is because it contains “cacao” (which is NOT cocoa, misspelled!). Cacao contains, anandamide, and this helps to give you a feeling of euphoria. (who needs another reason!) It also contains phenylethylamine which boosts our moods too..2 for 1! The problem with chocolatey options are that they are usually high in sugars too, and the crash and burn feeling that follows can create more problems in the long run. Modification is always key. So instead of going for a chocolate bar or processed snack, get cacao in the purest, raw from and add to your food that way. You can create some fun protein balls, fudge brownies and even put it into your oatmeal to make life more chocolatey and happy too!

6. Chia seeds

Chia seeds are not only high in omega 3 fats (we already went over the benefits of these) but they also contain high levels of vitamin C too (we went over this too)…now you can get both benefits with one option! I love making a chia seed pudding. Just add chia seeds to some unsweetened almond milk (or coconut milk if you prefer), add some fruit of your choice and refrigerate until the seeds swell and absorb the liquid. OMG! It’s so good and so good for you!

7. Shakeology 

If you follow my blog then you know I never skip a day of getting in my daily dose of Shakeology.

Shakeology is packed with supernutrients. Now we know you are probably like, “say whaaaaat, what’s a supernutrient?” Well, you’re not alone. Here’s some info that helps all the above information get taken care of in one spot…and then some!

Supernutrients are powerful nutritional components within superfoods that provide vital health benefits. Basically, they are the parts of superfoods that actually cause the foods to be “super.” For example, a bilberry is a superfood. One of the components of bilberries (which are an ingredient of Shakeology) that make them “super” is anthocyanins, which help support eye health. Therefore, anthocyanins are one of bilberry’s supernutrients. Got it? Great! Shakeology has a smorgasbord of supernutrients in its ingredients, which is why you really do get your daily dose of dense nutrition with each delicious glass.

Supernutrient: AMINO ACIDS

What it does: Are the building blocks of proteins which help build and maintain muscle health

Which ingredients in Shakeology have this: Whey, Pea, Chia, Quinoa, Amaranth, Flax, Sacha Inchi; Vegan Protein blend also includes Oat and Rice Proteins


Supernutrient: PUNICALAGIN

What it does: May help benefit the heart and the health of blood vessels

Which ingredients in Shakeology have this: Pomegranate


Supernutrient: FLAVONOIDS

What it does: Protects the body form oxidative stress

Which ingredients in Shakeology have this:  Spinach and Kale


Supernutrient: SAPONINS

What it does: May help promote nutrient absorption

Which ingredients in Shakeology have this: Astragalus, Ashwagandha, Schisandra, Ginkgo, Tulsi [Holy Basil]


Supernutrient: TANNINS

What it does: May help support cardiovascular health

Which ingredients in Shakeology have this: Blueberries, Bilberries, Yacon, Pomegranate

These are only SOME of the supernutrients in Shakeology that you consume every time you blend up a yummy shake. Not only is Shakeology a treat to your taste buds, but it is also a great way to treat your body to the nutrition it deserves. Are you heading to the kitchen right now to make a shake? Good choice! 😉

So, there you have it. How to offset your sad moods, how to uplift those happy moods and how to keep them going long term. If you think about it, we ARE what we eat (and drink), so make sure you are adding in the best nutrition possible and eliminating unnecessary calories and fatty foods that do nothing good for us except feel bloated, fat and lethargic. (think: cookies, donuts, fast foods, high calorie drinks and commercialized smoothies)

Need some help? Join our nutrition based challenge that can help you both look and feel your best with some great support.

 

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