In our society, many providers treating mental health are quick to recommend or prescribe medications when patients express feelings of depression or anxiety. Because of this societal standard, people tend to think it is the only path to take. Yet – there are so many other paths to wellness that are often ignored despite the fact that they can make lasting change.
A huge factor in your mood and emotions is what you eat. As a matter of fact, your human brain is run by nutrients. Furthermore, nutrient depletions can manifest as signs that mimick psychological and psychiatric disorders. Anti-depressants are many times prescribed for fatigue, anxiety, poor mood, stress intolerance, and inability to sleep; ALL which may be symptoms of nutrient depletion.
When an anti-depressant is taken it essentially tricks your body into thinking that you have more neurotransmitters like serotonin or norepinephrine than you actually do. However, when you eat a meal full of essential nutrients, you are actually manufacturing more serotonin in your body, which is one out of only three ways that you are able to do so.
It’s easy to listen to a certain choice when you hear it from so many different people, but, instead of just “grabbing” the first choice that is presented, one should take a step back, take a deep breath, and keep in mind that there are many other solutions to a problem.
Three ways to feel better today through your diet include:
Eat Small Meals Frequently- Eating too infrequently can destabilize your blood sugar levels which leads to increased fatigue and feeling down throughout the day.
Increase Fiber Intake- Fiber slows the rate that sugar is absorbed into the bloodstream, which keeps your blood glucose levels from rising too fast. Examples of foods high in fiber include: beans, whole grains, and vegetables like broccoli. Rapid changes in blood sugar affect your mood and energy levels.
Eat Protein with Each Meal- Proteins contain amino acids like L-Tryptophan and L-Tyrosine that help increase serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain, both neurotransmitters that are linked to depression. Examples of foods with protein include: meats, poultry (turkey and chicken), eggs, tofu or nuts.
Making the 3 changes above is a step toward total body wellness. Total wellness includes a focus on all aspects of a person – and goes beyond the common societal standard that “a pill can fix all.” For lasting change, we often need to look at and change behaviors, such as our diet.