Did you know that healthy eating affects anxiety and depression?
We always hear about how you should eat well – it’s good for you, gives you energy and makes you feel better. However there are many ways healthy eating can help your mental health too, including anxiety and depression.
Australian’s every year set new year resolution goals to get fit, eat better, but your mental health and how you cope everyday is equally as important as your physical health. Anxiety and depression are the most common mental health issues Australians face daily, affecting their daily functions, work life, relationships and family ties.
So why not consider your diet?
4 important dietary areas to help fight anxiety and depression –
(Nutritionist Lisa Guy – Body & Soul)
- Omega 3 fats – Good fats needed to build the brain’s neutral connections. Research has shown people with depression tend to have lower levels of Omega 3.
EAT MORE: Oily fish, e.g trout, salmon, sardines; flaxseeds, walnuts
- B Vitamins – Important for nervous system function and production of energy. These are “anti-stress” nutrients, helping to relieve anxiety and treat depression. B3, B6 & B9 all work together to produce serotonin, the ‘feel good’ chemical.
EAT MORE: Legumes, wholegrains, nuts, seeds, green leafy vegetables, eggs, chicken, red meat and milk
EAT LESS: Refined grains and processed foods
- Blood Sugar – Keep blood sugar levels balanced. If they fluctuate during the day, so will your mood. A diet high in sugary, white, processed carbohydrate foods will cause sudden peaks and troughs in the glucose in your blood, affecting mood and anxiety.
EAT MORE: Wholegrains, fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, yoghurt, nuts, seeds, eggs, fish and chicken. Having smaller meals more regularly and including protein-rich foods also helps to stabilise blood-sugar levels and curb sugar cravings.
EAT LESS: Processed or sugary foods, and cut down on caffeine and alcohol
- Tryptophan – Serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for making us feel good, is manufactured in the body using the amino acid tryptophan, which must be supplied through the diet. Tryptophan is also needed to produce melatonin, which is vital for getting enough sleep. Low serotonin levels are linked to depression, anxiety, insomnia and fatigue. In clinical trials, tryptophan augmentation has been shown to diminish depression.
EAT MORE: Lean chicken, turkey, beef, brown rice, fish, milk, eggs, cheese, nuts, bananas, peas, pumpkin, potato, corn and spinach.
Create a healthier, happier, effortless life for yourself. Some small changes to your diet could really change the impact anxiety or depression is having on your life.
As nutrition is not the only way to manage anxiety and depression, psychological assistance can be required depending on the severity. Creating Change Psychology has a team of Psychologists who are experts in these areas, plus we also have child Psychologists to assist children and adolescents with anxiety and depression. Contact us for an appointment.
Written By Rebecca Deane – Senior Clinical Psychologist – www.creatingchange.net.au