Trust Nature

Foods to fight anxiety and depression

It has been a long time since I last posted. It’s not easy sometimes to juggle daily activities with a little toddler constantly hungry to discover the world. The last thing that he wants to see is his Mummy typing into the keyboard.

However much of a struggle it may be to find the time, I just felt that I really need to connect with Nature Without Limits readers to talk about food and anxiety. Especially now, in this unprecedented time where almost everyone is affected by the pandemic directly or indirectly.

Economic crisis, testing, vaccination, covid, pandemic… suddenly all these words accompany us almost everyday wherever we go. Mandatory masks, keeping distance, fear of infection, job, family, sleepless nights all of these have a tremendous impact on our subconscious mind.

Our body and minds are thriving for comfort, a magic solution to help us to relax and bring some comfort.

I want to talk a little bit more here on how we can help ourselves by incorporating some of the food to boost our energy but also fight anxiety.

When my little boy finally falls asleep in the evening I like to sometimes enjoy a good, dark chocolate bar with lots of cocoa.

I have good news here for chocolate fans like me! It’s not as unhealthy and naughty as some of you may think, quite the contrary.

Dark chocolate without a guilt

A dark chocolate bar with the majority of the compound to be cocoa is a great source of fibre, iron, magnesium, zinc and manganese. 

Dark chocolate is packed with organic compounds that are biologically active and function as antioxidants. These include polyphenols, flavanols and catechins, among others.

Of course as everything it has to be enjoyed in moderation to preserve its nutrition values. Having too much chocolate especially with a low cocoa intake will bring only a temporary lift.  As it’s quickly absorbed in the bloodstream you certainly may experience an instant increase of energy but only for few minutes.  Our organism does not need excess sugar and therefore quickly tries to get rid of it by increasing insulin production, which makes us feel tired and low.

Therefore, do not limit yourself by saying no to the chocolate but choose only healthy alternatives such as dark chocolate, fruit or oat bars.

‘Good’ Carbs to Boost Mood

Eating carbohydrates triggers your brain to release the mood-lifting neurotransmitter serotonin. So instead of trying to avoid them, eating the right kind of carbs can be a good choice when you’re feeling down. Stick to whole-grain breads and other healthy carbohydrates.

Subjects about carbs seems to be controversial, some of the health advisors, advice to avoid them in order to keep a body slim and avoid weight gaining. I totally agree with not eating what I call ”rubbish carbs” such as white bread, white pasta, everything which is made out of flour which does not provide us with any nutrition but it burdens our digestive system and contributes to putrefactive processes in the body.

I am talking here about good carbs such as:

  • fruits
  • vegetables – ( see my recipe here for energy smoothie packed with vitamin C and K)
  • foods high in fibre – example: lentils, quinoa, oats, chickpeas

which triggers your brain to release the mood-lifting neurotransmitter serotonin.

Fermented food is the guts best friend

The discovery of the “second brain” and how food has direct impact on our mood has been widely discussed recently but for those who are interested in this subject I really recommend to read the book ” The Good Gut: Taking Control of Your Weight, Your Mood, and Your Long Term Health” by Dr Justin Sonnenburg and Dr Erica Sonnenburg discuss direct connection between food and its impact on our nervous system. Below is the link to one of her videos on YouTube that gives a glimpse of work.

In very short, the microbial fermentation process converts food particles into nutrient-richer products, resulting in functional micro organisms (probiotics) that contribute to the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut (prebiotics) and bioactive ingredients (biogens).

There is not too much trouble in getting fermented food, if you are too busy you can get it from the supermarket. I recommend Polish fermented sauerkraut and pickles that do not have any nasties and can be purchased from the local Polish shops or Tesco.

( For non Polish speakers, pickles in Polish you will find under name: ogorki kiszone/ sauerkraut: kapusta kiszona).

for non Polish speakers:

pickles are called “ogorki kiszone” in Polish

sauerkraut in Polish = kapusta kiszona

Omega-3s

The main benefit of consumption food rich in omega-3s is directly link to improving brain function and help you manage depression symptoms.

Foods that are good sources of omega-3s include:

  • fish
  • nuts,
  • canola oil
  • flaxseed oil
  • nuts
  • dark-green leafy vegetables ( see my recipe here for energy smoothie packed with vitamin C and K)

Vitamin D

Several studies done by theTrusted Source have shown that people suffer from vitamin D deficiency are more like to experience depression-related symptoms. Vitamin D is produced on our skin thanks to exposure to the sun but also it could be provide with food. Therefore it’s vital to make sure we provide our bodies with food that contains vitamin D.

Some examples of food containing vitamin D:

  • fish
  • tofu
  • mushrooms

Selenium

Selenium is an essential element of healthy balance. A lack of this very important component is link to depression.

Selenium can be found in:

  • nuts
  • whole grains
  • beans
  • seafood
  • lean meats

Please note that too much selenium can be toxic so do not experiment yourself with taking supplements without consulting your health advisors, nutritionist or doctor first.

There are only a few examples of food that taken on daily basis can certainly benefit our health and elevate our moods. Knowing what food is right to eat can help overcome anxiety symptoms and keep depression at bay.

Look after yourself and let me know what other food you like to eat to improve your wellbeing.

In my next post we will discuss what food to avoid in order to protect ourselves from anxiety and improve energy level.

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