It’s fair to state that an unhealthy diet, one high in sugar and fat, has many repercussions on the state of our mental health.
There has been various studies that show the link between our eating habits and feelings: basically, in short, we’re eating the way we feel aka A Depression Diet. And this is typical behavior for someone suffering with depression, something that I’m all too familiar with. When you feel low, you eat to make yourself feel better, even if that is only a momentary release from the confines of depression.
Another factor is motivation. When feeling low, the last thing you want to do is spend long periods of time preparing food when you can barely lift your head off the pillow. This, combined with the low appetite that often accompanies depression, is almost certain to lead to poor and irregular food choices. On the flip side, and this was certainly the case during my battle with depression, an increase in appetite that leaves you longing for inappropriate foods, leading to significant weight gain. Whether you have a low or high appetite during depression, both of these habits are going to intensify your depression. The foods we eat directly affect the chemicals in our brain. Combined with erratic eating behaviors and we’re setting ourselves up for significant mood imbalances.
So, how can we help ourselves to ease our depression and get off our depression diet?
Baby steps. I know how hard it is to even maintain basic hygiene when you’re low, so the thought of standing in the kitchen preparing food for the day would have been something that filled me with dread. I wanted quick and easy food, which is actually great for our bodies if the food choices are good. Eating at regular intervals will stabilize blood sugar, which in turn will prevent unhealthy cravings. Eating regular meals and snacks will also boost metabolism, helping the body use energy supplies effectively. Ready to try it out? Here are the foods to avoid and the foods to enjoy, plus two recipes to get you started.
Foods to avoid: Sugar, fast food, trans fats, caffeine and alcohol
Foods to eat: Salmon, flax seeds, walnuts, dates, berries, bananas, leafy greens, tomatoes, peppers, sweetcorn and dark chocolate
1. Green Smoothie
Smoothies are such a great way to kickstart the day, and if you’re suffering with depression then making a smoothie for breakfast is a supurb way to start as they require next to no planning. You can follow this recipe or throw in whichever greens and fruit you have on hand. The leafy greens and banana will do wonders for your energy levels while the coconut water is super hydrating.
Get the recipe here.
2. Salmon & Walnut Salad
Salmon is so quick and easy to prepare and goes well with salad. This recipe boasts an abundance of goodness from the salmon and walnuts to the leafy greens and blueberries. Salads are really easy to throw together, and if you’d like to make things easier, why not make two or three servings in one go and store them in the fridge for the next few days? Meal prep may seem like a chore but it enables us maintain healthier eating habits, especially when suffering with depression and lack of creativity in the kitchen.
Get the recipe here.
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