By: Nahid Khilji
Food is not only responsible to alter your body composition; it also helps in regulating your mood. Depression is a sad and unhappy feeling which most of us experience at some point of our life. However this is a not long lasting. But people also suffer from a more serious form of depression which is prolonged and can be treated only through medicines and certain therapies. Depression is a serious problem which affects and changes a person’s life drastically.
Here we shall see how diet and exercise can contribute to overcome depression.
First thing to keep in mind is to eliminate all the junk food from your diet. People who are more of junk eaters are at a higher risk of depression. So elimination of junk food is utmost important.
Reducing the intake of saturated fatty acids and Trans fats which not only lead to heart disease, is also indirectly linked with depression. Avoiding red meat, opting for low fat cow’s milk instead of whole milk can reduce the level of saturated fats in the diet.
Replacing unhealthy fats with healthy fat like omega 3 fatty acids which play a role in suppressing symptoms of depression. Sources of omega 3 include salmon, tuna, cod liver oil, flaxseeds etc.
Adequate protein in your diet will help in eliminating signs of depression. Since animal food like lean cuts of chicken, fish are rich in B complex vitamins which maintain the integrity and health of nerve and brain cells. Also it helps in producing dopamine which is a feel good neurotransmitter.
Carbohydrates apart from giving energy, also helps in fighting depression. Complex carbohydrates produces a chemical called serotonin, which balances your mood and makes you feel better. Include fiber rich complex carbohydrates like oats, whole wheat, and muesli in your diet.
Caffeinated products like coffee, tea, dark coco chocolate can improve symptoms of depression, as caffeine is a stimulant and makes a person more energetic and active.
However too much of caffeine can worsen the condition leading to insomnia, which is a side effect of depression. Hence one should have such beverages in moderation and avoid having caffeinated products at night.
Soda’s, cold drinks, sugar sweetened drinks are associated with a higher risk of depression. One should avoid having such drinks and rather opt for healthy drinks like milkshakes, fruit juice, and water.
One should include fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet as they are rich in antioxidant which helps in perking up your mood. Polyphenols found in these foods balances your mood also the fiber in them maintains blood sugar levels which can cause mood swings.
Last but definitely not the least is exercise. Exercise is the most important component that works together with diet to combat depression. Exercise even if its 45 minutes of brisk walking releases mood boosting chemicals in your body which makes you feel good and happy. That’s the reason why after a long walk makes you feel calm and mentally stable.
Note: Nahid Khilji is a qualified dietitian, health coach and a diabetic educator. Her writings are aimed to motive and guides people to have an holistic approach towards life. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org