If you’re living with depression, the food and drinks you consume may be playing a major role in your overall mental health. Most people don’t realize that certain foods help offset some of the more aggravating depression symptoms, and some foods can actually make your symptoms worse. Discover the type of changes you can make to your diet to help you battle depression.
Eliminate or Limit Alcohol
Antidepressants and alcohol don’t mix. Not only can your antidepressants worsen the effects of the alcohol, but alcohol can worsen the side effects of your antidepressants. But it’s not only people taking antidepressants who should abstain or severely limit their alcohol consumption.
Everyone living with depression should limit the amount of alcohol they drink. Alcohol is a hypnotic-sedative. When consumed in excess it depresses crucial bodily functions which, in turn, can increase the severity of your depression symptoms.
While it’s best to eliminate it from your diet completely, at the very least you should limit your alcohol intake to special occasions, and even then limit yourself to one or two drinks.
Replace Processed Foods with Fresh, Homemade Alternatives
You might think it’s perfectly okay to grab a can of chicken noodle soup to comfort you and fuel your body when you’re feeling down, but that isn’t the case. A British study of more than 3,000 people concluded that people who consumed the most processed food faced an increased rate of depression.
So, instead of reaching for the can opener for a quick meal, try making some of your favorite comfort foods, like chicken noodle soup and mac-n-cheese, with fresh ingredients and freezing portions so you can grab them quickly when needed.
Eliminate Sugar, Refined Carbs, and Trans Fats
Sugar, carbs, and trans fats are commonly linked with depression, so you should work to eliminate them from your diet. When it comes to replacing them, you have plenty of options. Focus on adding more whole grains and produce into your diet in place of sugar, refined carbs, and trans fats.
Also, sugar, refined carbohydrates, and trans fats are all difficult for your body to digest, so after you eat things like white bread, ice cream, and fried chicken, you might notice you feel sluggish or excessively tired. This is often worse for people living with depression so eliminating as many of these foods from your diet as possible is a great idea.
Remember, sugar doesn’t always appear as “sugar” on food labels. Watch for ingredients like:
• Corn syrup • High fructose corn syrup • Dextrose • Fructose • Honey • Lactose • Maltose • Sucrose
When eliminating these foods from your diet, don’t forget to eliminate sugary drinks, like sports drinks and soda. And before consuming fruit juice, read the label to see if it is 100% natural or if there are added sugars.
Another thing many people don’t realize is that, because milk has lactose in it, it could also be an issue. If you’ve eliminated all other sugars from your diet and still feel bad, replace cow’s milk with a nut-based alternative like coconut or almond milk.
Add Fresh, Healthy Food Into Your Diet
While there are several foods and drinks you should avoid if you live with depression, there are also plenty of great food options for people with depression. For example, a veggie-packed diet is great for people with depression because it helps you maintain the proper amount of dietary folate and fiber in your diet — both things those with depression often lack.
Remember, leafy green veggies, the darker the better, are always going to be your best choice. But any type of fresh vegetable is a good replacement for processed food.
Other foods that help fight depression include:
Ultimately, the healthier your diet, the better you’ll feel. And when you feel good, your normal depression symptoms aren’t as bad. So when you start to feel sluggish or get brain fog, look at what you’ve eaten to see if you can replace any bad foods with healthier options.
Identity Magazine is all about guiding women to discover their powers of Self-Acceptance, Appreciation, and Personal Achievement.
We ask that every contributor and expert answer the Identity questions in keeping with our theme. Their answers can be random and in the moment or they can be aligned with the current article they have written. In that way, and as a team, we hope to encourage and motivate each other, thus inspiring you to Get All A’s.
What have you accepted within your life, physically and/or mentally? Additionally, what are you still working on accepting? Now, we’re not talking about resignation, rather stepping into, embraced, and owned.
I’ve learned to accept that we have to all appreciate the little things and to not take anything for granted.
Appreciation is everything. What have you learned to appreciate about yourself and/or within your life, physically and mentally? On the other hand OR in contrast, are there elements of who you are that you’re still working on appreciating?
I appreciate and I’m blessed to have a loving family and friends in my life.
Share with us one of your most rewarding achievements in life? Tell us not only what makes YOU most proud but also share the goals and dreams that you still have.
My biggest achievement is graduating from Arizona State University in 2013!