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It almost seems like there is a pill for everything! There are advertisements on television, in magazines, at the grocery store, pharmacy, and doctor’s offices. This is especially true in the area of psychotropic drugs. Western culture has a tendency to overlook the mind-body connection, and the result is the creation of modern psychiatry. In the search for the right combination of medicine, maybe it is time to consider that the best “medicine” out there may be the food that we put into our bodies. This article is all about how to use food in order to help us feel better about ourselves.
It has always been noted that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. This is because when we take the time for a more balanced breakfast, we tend to notice the following changes in our mood:
- An improved memory
- We are more energetic
- Better feelings of calmness and relaxation
Likewise, when we miss this most important meal of the day, we often feel very lethargic and anxious throughout the day. The question that we now have to ask is what exactly makes for a more balanced breakfast?
- A breakfast that is packed with nutrients providing energy
- Lots of fiber
- Good fats
- Lean protein
- Whole-grain carbohydrates
There was a study that took place among 4,641 women which depicted a link between depression and obesity. Although it is not sure if obesity was from a lack of activity that resulted in the depression or the depression from the lack of activity that resulted in the overeating which, in turn, led to the obesity. Either way, a proper diet always goes well with daily exercise or more simply put, an active lifestyle that burns the calories that we take in on a day to day basis.
There was a similar Spanish study of men which showed depression had an increased likelihood among men experiencing a decrease in folate levels. Folate is a water-soluble B vitamin which occurs naturally in food; folic acid is the synthetic form of this vitamin. Folate is found in many Mediterranean staple foods which led to the promotion of a more Mediterranean diet that included a healthier and balanced way of eating the following:
- Fruits and nuts
- Vegetables (like your mother always told you growing up)
Another beneficial thing to note is that Vitamin D is a widely known serotonin booster. This is primarily achieved through being out in the sun for a period of time each day. Exactly how long a person should spend in the sun without getting sunburned or skin cancer depends on a variety of factors such as your geographic location and skin type. Or you could drink a lot of Vitamin D milk since this article is primarily about using food to promote a more positive mood. The average daily recommendation is 600 international units (IU’s) a day from food. There is also supplements that you can buy in any health food store if you have a hard time reaching this goal.
Proper Fats & Selenium
Aside from the Mediterranean diet, you also want to eat a low-fat diet which includes omega 3’s, fish, eggs, walnuts, ground flaxseed, and canola oil. You also want to eat foods that are rich in selenium. It is recommended that we take in 200 micrograms (mcg’s) per day for about seven weeks for the relief of mild to moderate depression. This is especially true in the elderly as a study that took place at Texas Tech observed.
It is recommended that we take in 55 mcg’s of selenium on a daily basis from the foods that we should be eating in the first place. These foods include:
- Seafood such as oysters, clams, sardines, saltwater and freshwater fish
- Seeds and nuts; or more particularly Brazil nuts
- Lean pork, beef, turkey, and skinless chicken
- Whole-grained pasta, brown rice, and oatmeal
- Beans and legumes
- Low-fat dairy products
It goes without saying that you probably should cut down on caffeinated beverages if you cannot cut them out completely as these can exacerbate depression as well as negatively affect our mood if it keeps us up all night seeing as how it is a stimulant.
There you have it! To promote a better mood, try looking to alternatives to prescriptions… these foods are best for mood stabilizer. Of course, in combination with food make sure that you get plenty of exercise.
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