Do you have any idea how important food for depression treatment can be? Most people don’t realize how much their diet affects their mental wellbeing. The foods you eat play a major role in your overall mood and the way you feel throughout the day. If you eat low-quality food you won’t feel very great. On the other hand, when you eat healthy, whole foods you feel a lot better.
When you struggle with depression, oftentimes cooking for yourself the last thing you feel like doing. Planning ahead, grocery shopping, then coming home and making food seems like a daunting task. It’s much quicker and easier to pick up fast food from the drive-through or purchase microwave dinners.
Doctors stress the importance of a healthy diet, though, especially for individuals with depression. Still, the symptoms of depression sometimes make it challenging for people to carry out even basic tasks. But maintaining a poor diet often contributes to your symptoms or makes them even worse. So what can you do?
While there isn’t a single thing that leads to or causes depression, the foods you eat do affect the severity of your mental illness. Processed foods lack the vital nutrients necessary to keep your body functioning well. Instead, you’ll benefit most from a balanced, well-rounded approach to nutrition. What kinds of food for depression should you eat? Continue reading to find out.
The Best Food For Depression
It’s no secret that the quality of our food has gone downhill over the past few decades. Manufacturers sacrificed standards in order to increase production at a lower cost. This lead to lots of brightly-colored boxes containing bagged “foods” with little nutritional value. These foods are usually ready to eat straight out of the box which makes them popular quick options.
But think of your brain like the engine in your car: if you put low-quality gasoline or oil in it, it’s not going to last for long. When you put high-quality gasoline and oil in it, though, you’ll get better performance for a longer period time. Your brain works the same exact way. You’re going to get poor results if you regularly fuel it with processed and refined foods.
These processed foods play a much bigger role on your mental health thank you might realize, though. They might be easier to access in the short-term but they affect you drastically over the long-term. What you save in time now will come back for you in a few years time. You should start thinking now what types of food for depression you can incorporate into your diet.
Your gastrointestinal tract produces more than 90 percent of your serotonin or your “happy” neurotransmitter. Maintaining a poor diet full of refined sugar and other processed foods impacts your body’s ability to produce serotonin. This leads to an increased risk of you developing depression, or making your existing depression worse.
Treating Depression With Your Diet
Are you looking to treat your depression with minimal to no medication? Would you rather take a natural approach to work on your mental health? Start with trying out different kinds of food for depression. You might realize that adjustments to your diet are all you need to create a lasting shift in your mood and outlook on the world.
So what should you eat instead? The easiest way to grocery shop for food for depression is to spend most of your time in the produce section of the grocery store. Start with making fruits and vegetables the largest part of your everyday diet. These nutrient-dense foods are the most natural way to fuel your body.
Incorporate whole grains into your diet instead of foods made from processed white flour. Lean protein sources like seafood or chicken are much better for you than red meat. Additionally, work on limiting or completely eliminating your intake of processed sugar. Some people find that cutting out dairy proves beneficial for their overall mood as well.
Cooking your own food is the easiest way to keep track of what makes it into your diet. You don’t have to be the greatest chef in the world; simply learn your way around the kitchen. By cooking for yourself, you get more control over your portion sizes and can play around with different kinds of dietary restrictions as well.
Therapy, Medication, and Nutrition
Some people live with such severe depression that simply getting out of bed in the morning is a daunting task. If you’re one of these people, it might sound like it’s impossible for you to take control of your diet in this way. It’s probably best for you to first start with seeing a therapist and possibly incorporating medication from a psychiatrist.
Once you get a bit of a hold on your mental health, you can start to take your diet into your own hands. You might find that you get the best results by utilizing this well-rounded approach to mental health treatment. Adjusting your own diet gives you some control over the process and might help with your self-esteem as well.
You might also find that attending treatment for your mental health is the best course to take. There are treatment centers that understand the importance of food for depression and take their clients’ diets into consideration. Hawaii Island Recovery, for example, looks at nutrition as an integral aspect of each client’s treatment plan.
Are you interested in learning more about our well-rounded approach to mental health treatment? Call us today at 877-721-3556 to speak with an admissions counselor and find out more!